she was loved…

I just learned that one of my sisters has passed away. Praying that she would not succumb, it wasn’t a complete surprise that she did. She’d had cancer.

A few years older than me, I grew up idolizing Lucy. She was pretty, had a smile that lit up her entire face…with a personality to match. She was a songleader…a softer, more lyrical version of a cheerleader. And she was smart. Why guys weren’t knocking down our door to date her, I’ll never understand. Maybe it was our strict Catholic upbringing, or mean looks from our mom, or maybe it’s because my sister had really high standards. I’ll bet she’s looking down, nodding her head in agreement with the last reason.

My sister and I were quite a few years apart, separated by a brother. They were closer in age. As a result they were best buddies. I kind of tagged along, orders from my mom. I was probably a real drag to have around.

I remember once when I went with them in search of something we referred to as “rabbit grass,” to feed our rabbits. We climbed over a fence onto private property. As we poked through the overgrown vegetation, I heard my sister yell “A bull!!!” She and my brother lit out of there as if it had started chasing them. I ran to the fence only to find that they were already hightailing it down the road back to our house. When they realized I’d been left behind, I think Lucy said they’d better return to get me or “mama will kill us!” They returned, hiked me up over the fence, set me on my feet, and we all got the heck out of there. I think I was crying, but I don’t remember the bull making a move toward us. I’m not sure.

Lucy taught me to dance. I was always a willing partner when she was trying to learn new steps, like the cha-cha-cha or the be-bop. We would laugh as I stumbled, trying not to step on her feet. I can’t remember my brother joining in. Maybe he did, but thanks to my sister my passion for dance grew. When I was a teenager, I was known as the dancing queen around school. Classmates would ask me to teach them how to do…the twist, the jerk, and the “mashed potatoes.” I continued the tradition and passed my love of dance along to my daughter, who went on to make it a career. Thanks sis!

The thing I admired most about my sister is the wonderful brood of children she raised. She cherished them, 3 girls and 2 boys. And I have no doubt they were as devoted to her as she was to them. They, and their children, are a credit to my sister, and her husband Jim. Both role models, living their lives with compassion for others.

While my sister and I weren’t as close we probably would have liked…our lives taking us in different directions…in our hearts we had only the best wishes for one another’s well-being. So I’m at peace with her now being in Heaven, relieved of her suffering. Nonetheless, I am sad for those closest to her heart who are left behind. It will be awhile before their sorrow is lessened. I’ll continue to pray for them, that God keep watch over all…

…my sister by His side.

………hugmamma.012

 

 

 

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red flags…

Americans for Trump are choosing to ignore all the “red flags” that are waving right in front of their faces. Apart from everything else we’ve seen…denigrating immigrants, including natural born citizens…verbally slamming protesters at his rallies…name calling any and all challengers…Trump’s henchmen, paid with taxpayer dollars, are strong arming the media.

Not a huge fan of the media myself, this is still America where freedom of speech is a constitutional right. The fact that for the first time in modern history, reporters are penned in like cattle at Trump rallies…is approaching what Middle East dictators have been doing for decades. Government control of the media. Yesterday’s altercation between a photographer and one of Trump’s guards is disturbing in that he continues to manhandle the other man even when he’s flat on his back.

Today, Trump’s surrogate New Jersey governor Chris Christie threw his weight around by refusing to answer questions not to his liking. Imagine if he’d become president?

Chris Christie held a press conference in New Jersey today and got pretty testy with reporters who asked him “off-topic” questions.

Christie announced his nomination for the New Jersey Supreme Court and had said ahead of time he only wanted on-topic questions. When one reporter tried to ask permission to ask an off-topic question, Christie said, “I won’t permit you to, I told you that there’s only going to be on-topic questions today, so permission denied.”

One reporter tried to ask Christie about another state issue, and Christie shot him down. When asked why not take the question, Christie said, “Because I don’t want to.”

…Josh Feldman/Media ITE

As I’ve said before, President Obama would be ballyhooed if he refused to answer questions so dismissively.

Why are Trump and Christy getting away with attempts to suppress the media? Because they’re a couple of…

…bullies!

………hugmamma.

(photo…media.salon.com)

 

passion…

One of my sister-in-laws recently told me that she reads my blog, except for the political posts. I chuckled, and changed the subject.

I understand that politics turns most folks off. Sad, but true. Washington’s current chokehold doesn’t help. Who among us wants to watch our supposed-representatives in a war of words, while…mass shootings continue…terrorist threats continue…narcotics continue to flow across our borders…millions of immigrants await their fate…and on and on.

Everyday politics fails to grab my attention, unless there’s some big brouhaha in Washington. When Barack Obama hit the national scene in 2008, that all changed. Like the rest of America, I was glued to my TV. Since then the presidential election has become a staple. My passion for it might wane, however, if it ever becomes humdrum. Obama’s presidency has never been that and the current campaign is anything but ho-hum.

If there’s any wisdom I can pass along to younger folk…anyone under 66…it’s to find something about which you’re passionate. Something that gets your brain buzzing long before you open your eyes in the morning, nags at you throughout the day, and keeps you up at night. This is life…not passing you by. This is being relevant…no matter your senior citizen status.

Passion takes many forms.

After my daughter’s birth I was an exercise fiend determined to rid my belly of excess fat. When I got hooked on antiques, I was forever on the hunt for that next best deal. The day I saw a ballerina blossoming before my very eyes, I was on a mission to help make my daughter’s dream of a career come true. Decorating and/or remodeling each of the places we have called home, 9 in all, over four-and-a-half decades, has kept me happily occupied. And the collection of pets that have shared our lives…one guinea pig, 2 dogs and 10 cats…have required lots of passion to keep them thriving. Gardening is a passion rooted in childhood, inherited from my mom. Later in life, books and writing absorbed my waking hours…minutes here and there really…whatever could be spared from more pressing business.

And from now until the election in November, my passion is the presidential campaign. My decision continued to evolve as I listened to what the candidates and pundits had to say. I didn’t wake up one morning deciding to vote for Hillary Clinton. She has earned my vote, just as others have not. Aside from the obvious reason of electing the next president of the United States, the stunning revelation that millions of Americans are right-wing extremists is a sobering fact.

Today’s endorsement of Trump by David Duke, spokesman for the Klu Klux Klan, is proof. Trump’s popularity is riding the waves upon which the KKK is founded. That Trump hems and haws about distancing himself from the Klan is because he wants them on his side. Trump is adept at sidestepping principles when the prize is great. And he desires nothing more than to be the most powerful man in the world.

Another endorsement today by Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, was wholeheartedly welcomed by Trump. According to an online article…

…a black former assistant U.S. Attorney in Alabama named Thomas Figures–testified that, during a 1981 murder investigation involving the Ku Klux Klan, Sessions was heard by several colleagues commenting that he “used to think they [the Klan] were OK” until he found out some of them were “pot smokers.” Sessions claimed the comment was clearly said in jest. Figures didn’t see it that way. Sessions, he said, had called him “boy” and, after overhearing him chastise a secretary, warned him to “be careful what you say to white folks.” … he too had heard Sessions call various civil rights organizations, including the National Council of Churches and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, “un-American.” Sessions denied the accusations but again admitted to frequently joking in an off-color sort of way.

There’s passion and then there’s…

…trump’s brand of passion.

………hugmamma.

(photo…breitbart.com)

a good man…but

I like Bernie Sanders…his affinity for everyman. Sanders’ compassion for the less fortunate is palpable. His ideas to uplift the struggling masses and level the playing field is what America should be about. If everyone thought as Sanders does…peace might be possible.

Sanders, however, cannot be our next president. He proselytizes, speaking to our “better angels.” Abraham Lincoln first spoke to that side of human nature in his First Inaugural Address on March 4, 1861…

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Almost 155 years to the day, we are where we were then. American turning against American, each side using the Constitution in defense of its own dogmatic, ideological stances.

I give Sanders credit for being the voice of Lincoln when that President’s own party, the Republican Party, has long turned its back on what he stood for…and died for.

Being a senior citizen myself, I can understand Sanders sense of urgency to remake America before he dies. He’s 74. He wants it done…yesterday.

Like President Obama before him, Sanders has started a movement, primarily among young adults. He is calling upon them to help fix our broken society. Sanders expects that they will continue to actively support his presidency, if and when that day materializes. They are to strong arm Congress into enacting all that Sanders envisions in a progressive society.

It may be that Obama wrongfully shouldered the burden of his office alone, as some in the media have accused. However he may have been more realistic than Sanders who expects working class folks to add to their daily overload by actively involving themselves in remaking America. It’s not that it can’t be done, it’s just a question of how realistic an expectation it is.

How will Sanders pay for all the freebies he proposes to give out…free college education for all, rich and poor…and Medicare-like health insurance for all, rich and poor? In addition he wants to expand Medicaid benefits…raise the minimum wage…make it easier for people to join unions…break up the big banks…bring parity to women’s wages…invest in our crumbling infrastructure…and more. Fantastic…rhetoric, to be sure. But who’s going to pay for all of this?

If Sanders’ desire is to fashion our society to look like some in Europe, then we must be prepared to pay the price, as do those citizens. For example, Norway’s total tax burden is 45% of GDP…twice that of the U.S. More than the cost in dollars, however, is the price paid in individual enterprise and hard work.

Yes, I’d like the have-nots to have more, but they should still have the opportunity to work for it.

Hillary Clinton’s plan to help college students is to…allow them to refinance, just as we are allowed to refinance our homes, so that they are not paying excessive interest rates of 10% or more. She is not about forgiving their debt altogether. Furthermore, Clinton offers college students the opportunity to repay their loan as a percentage of wages earned after graduating. 

Bernie Sanders is unrealistically ideological. Hillary Clinton is pragmatic about her ideology.

…I’m for getting something done…

…not for daydreaming about it.

………hugmamma.

complete honesty…

It’s very interesting, almost refreshing actually, to see the conservative constituency come into its own. Trump, himself a ruthless chameleon, has been able to do what no Republican leader before him has done. He has spoken for thousands of voices and given them a powerful platform from which to speak their truth.

No more polite words. No more mouthing what they don’t believe in their hearts. No more suppressing their rights…freedom of speech…the right to bear arms. No more hiding their disdain for immigrants.

Trump says and does what his followers haven’t been able to say and do…and get away with it. He can repeat profanity and get laughs. He can verbally abuse protesters and get cheers. Even when he mimics a handicapped individual, there are no boos…only silent approval.

Because they seem completely mesmerized by the man, it can only be assumed that they are in sync with everything Trump is about…not only the good, but the bad and the ugly too. He can derail their attention from issues of real importance  to character assassination. Rubio’s profuse sweating has gotten more air time than…HOW Trump will force Mexico to pay for the border wall…and HOW he will defeat Isis.

It’s unimaginable that President Obama could have campaigned the way Trump does. There would have been such pushback like the world has never seen. He would have been pilloried in all corners of the white world. Whether or not blacks would have risen to his defense is a question mark.

Trump is as honest as his constituency allows him to be. And that’s what they like most about their candidate. He shows his underbelly; so they can show theirs. Of course, there’s a lot more to Trump than he allows them to see. After all, as he said…why should he show his hand before he has to? And that’s okay with the voters. Trump has shown them that they can be honest about who they really are.

…have to give them credit for that.

………hugmamma.

the glass ceiling…

If anyone doubts the existence of the “glass ceiling,” they’ve only to follow Hillary Clinton’s quest for the Oval Office. Literally everything, including the kitchen sink, is being thrown at her. How she withstands the constant barrage of trash talk flung her way by men vying for the U.S. presidency, and the media prying open every nook and cranny of her personal life, oft-times with a blunt knife, is beyond comprehension.

How Trump can get by without releasing his tax records because he’s being audited, when the IRS says they have no control over whether or not he does or doesn’t…is imbecilic on his part and idiotic for those who give him a pass. And how Sanders can harp on Clinton’s paid speeches as a private citizen without opening up his life to the same scrutiny is the same old double standard men rely upon…and get away with all the time.

It’s a man’s world, pure and simple. They make the rules by which we all live. They decide who’s in and who’s out. They decide what’s relevant and what’s not.

Most world leaders are men. Most religious leaders are men. Most monarchs are men. Most politicians are men. Most CEOs are men. Most bank presidents are men. Most Wall Street partners are men.

Women are wives and mothers. For the most part, we’re still responsible for raising the children and keeping house. The fact that most hold down jobs outside the home as well, does nothing to help qualify them for leadership roles in the workplace. In fact, juggling motherhood AND a job can often undermine a woman’s chance for advancement. There’s some unwritten rule that raises the bar for women…each and every time they strive to make gains. And who keeps raising that proverbial bar? Why men, of course.

To be fair, women can be their own worst enemies. We usually back down when facing opposition from men. After all, the ultimate authoritarian figure in our lives have been our fathers. And for eons husbands have been crowned “kings of their castles.”

Of course, money plays a big part in women’s subjugation to men. They are still the ones bringing home the slabs of “bacon” we women get to spend. Unless women make more then their spouses, there’ll continue to be a tug-of-war for control of more important debates than what’s for dinner.

Everyone, pundits and presidential opponents alike, agree that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified having been entrenched in politics…as the First Lady when her husband was both governor of Arkansas and President…as U.S. Senator from New York…and as Secretary of State for President Obama. She has worked alongside 2 presidents, even weighing in on Osama Bin Laden’s takedown in the Situation Room…negotiated with fellow members of Congress, practiced diplomacy with world leaders. None of her presidential competitors come close to the political experience that Clinton has, but somehow that’s not enough.

So this is where the “kitchen sink” comes in.

Clinton takes money from Wall Street. What about all the male candidates who did the same thing? Clinton gave speeches and got paid. What about male candidates who did the same thing?

It turns out that former President George W. Bush has been doing much the same thing. Politico reports that since he left office in 2009, “Bush has given at least 200 paid speeches and probably many more, typically pocketing $100,000 to $175,000 per appearance. The part-time work, which rarely requires more than an hour on stage, has earned him tens of millions of dollars.”

Clinton used her private email for work. What about the recent brouhaha when Ashton Carter, Defense Secretary, did the same thing? It disappeared as quickly as it appeared. Meanwhile, Clinton’s emails have taken on a life of its own…long after she’s left office. In fact, a Republican-chaired, special committee continues its witch hunt into her emails, thanks to our taxpayer dollars.

Even women are against Hillary Clinton for president. For many, it might be that they are being  largely influenced by all the verbiage men have created as a distraction. Unfortunately, men are still uncomfortable with women who “wear pants” and belly up to the table with the “good ‘ole boys.”

In spite of the prejudicial treatment she continues to face, it’s a credit to Hillary Clinton that she’s been like the “eye of the storm”…

…calm…and presidential.

………hugmamma.

(photo…vanityfair.com)

 

what feels right…

I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican, although I have liberal tendencies born of a childhood bordering on poverty. I know what it’s like to wear Salvation Army hand-me-downs, and share meals with orphans at a home run by Maryknoll nuns. I’ve been fortunate, however, to have “pulled myself up by the bootstraps” and married a man who has done the same. For us the stars were all aligned, shining good fortune down upon us. Not so with millions of others in America…and around the world. As one of my brothers liked to say of me, and perhaps it’s true…I’m a bleeding-heart liberal. And he didn’t mean it kindly. He’s hard-core conservative.

While I have voted for Republican presidents, like George W. Bush, I’ve never felt in sync with the party. I get that its members are about preserving the status quo and each and everyone earning his own keep. What I don’t get is how dogmatic Republicans are about their principles. It’s as though all poor people are guilty of abusing the system and must therefore prove themselves innocent. Why they can’t do just that seems beyond comprehension to dyed-in-the-wool conservatives. If folks find themselves in unfortunate circumstances, then they should get themselves out however they can and not look to society to do it for them.

Democrats aren’t without their own prejudices and faults. However what I can align with is their concern for the welfare of all people, including the less fortunate. There isn’t an automatic assumption that they are slovenly people living off the fat of the land, without first paying their dues. Yes, there are those who take advantage of welfare, but those who don’t shouldn’t be condemned alongside those who do.

My mom, a widow with 9 children, was never on welfare. She worked hard and took help whenever it was offered. If she was ashamed, she never showed it. What I did witness, however, was her compassion for others who shared her plight. She shared what little she had. A lesson that has remained with me to this day. Whether or not it comes more easily for folks who are themselves outcasts from society, I don’t know. I only know that having been there, I could never turn my back on those still stuck in the muck of poverty.

Life is complicated. There are no easy solutions to its complexities. All we can do is the best we can do, given our individual circumstances. And the only compass we have to guide us through life is a moral one. And at the risk of sounding like a “bleeding heart liberal,”…whether we like it or not, we’re all in this together. There’s no escaping to another planet, anytime soon that is. So rather than run from one another, we’ve got to figure out how to make this place where we all live…work for the good of all. Sooner or later the have-nots are going to overtake the haves, and help themselves to what they’ve long been denied.

…we are our brothers’…and sisters’…keepers.

…whether we like it…or not.

………hugmamma.

 

in vogue again…

So…if children see Trump bullying his way into the presidency, then why bother listening to adults moralize against bullying? Bullying gets the job done. Trump is proof-positive, and thousands of voters are rooting the bully on to a knock-out victory over any and all contenders.

So…if we see an uptick in bullying…on the playground…and on the internet…adults who voted Trump president have only themselves to thank. They have upended recent efforts to halt suicides by victims who were no match for the bullies.

So…if the would-be president is a bully, why shouldn’t children aspire to be like Trump…a bully? There’s no arguing the point, unless voters want to argue that the end justifies the means.

So…if the end justifies the means…what’s wrong with bullying…if it gets a kid what he wants in the end? It’s getting Trump what he wants. Remember, he swears he could shoot someone and his voters would still support him.

So…if mentally ill kids feel victimized by bullies and decide to retaliate by taking their  frustrations out in mass shootings, then we’ll be right where we are today. No better, but headed for a lot worse, that’s for sure.

So…for adults supporting Trump for president, it would follow that they approve of his bullying tactics. And because they do, it stands to reason that these same adults could not hold it against children who bully. Unless, of course, these Trump supporters are proposing that children “do as they say and not as they do.” That old double standard…that’s as old as bullying.

Sadly…

…some things never change.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

 

let’s give ’em…

…something to talk about.

That’s been the media’s mantra throughout the presidential campaign.

True, it’s what they’re about no matter the topic. Ratings drive the media. Whatever sells…is news.  And Trump’s been selling. Big time! So he’s always the headlines. The rest of the candidates have been orbiting around his sun, as far as the media is concerned.

So why would the media kill the “goose that lays the golden egg?” If Trump is elected president, the media is as much to thank as his herd of loyal followers.

Listening to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews…normally on the Democratic sideline…one gets the feeling that even he is rooting for Trump. Matthews likes that Trump is “having fun” during the presidential campaign. Great fun. At whose expense? Certainly not Matthews, nor the media at large. They’ll all be rolling in dough when the media ratings soar with Trump in the White House. There’ll be no lack of headline-grabbing news every time Trump bullies up to the podium.

Trump has matched wits with the media, ensnaring them into his web of open deception. Willing victims, the media have afforded Trump free publicity, even aiding and abetting in his lampooning the other candidates. The voting population-at-large would not be as tuned into Trump’s shenanigans if it weren’t for 24/7 coverage of his antics by CNN and the other major networks. They’re making a good living off of Trump and in return, he is reaping the massive exposure and raking in the votes.

So Trump wins!

…God forbid!

………hugmamma.

(photo…cnn.com)

what the people want…

It’s true. Americans thus far have decided they want a bully in the White House. They’re tired of being Mr. Nice Guy to the world. Instead, they’d like a Putin…or worse, a Bashar al-Assad. I exaggerate, but Americans should be careful what they ask for. They’re rolling the dice with Trump, banking on his word to make America great again. What those voters don’t know…and don’t want to know, it seems…is how Trump is going to do what he says he’s going to do. They don’t want to know that he’s going to, in his words ” punch that guy in the face” and ‘ ” You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.” ‘ Essentially, Trump’s devoted fans want something akin to the Mafioso in control of their lives.

These days I no longer turn on the news to hear updates on the presidential race. The news is too depressing. Reality TV is now real life played out on the national stage. Viewers of the Kardashians and the various and sundry Housewives shows much prefer trash talk and pushing the boundaries, rather than upholding moral standards of any kind. Just as Trump ruled the airwaves as King of Reality TV, he is now on his way to becoming King of America. And make no mistake…that is the title he seeks. He will not be the leader of a democracy. He will rule as an autocrat.

Trump says he doesn’t want to reveal his plans to the rest of the world, that’s why he drones on without saying anything substantive. Who is he fooling? Only fools, that’s who. The man has no clue how he’ll get Congress to bend to his will. I’d like to see him take on Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House. Is Trump going to punch Ryan in the face if he dare protest?

I’m certain Trump’s fans will want to see him punch Putin in the face, but that won’t happen. The Soviet leader will have no qualms about putting loudmouth Trump right where he belongs…in the little boy’s sandbox with the rest of the wannabe bullies of the world. Why? Because Putin would take Russia to the brink of war to show his muscle. Trump won’t have that kind of backing from a democratic country where Americans are always second-guessing themselves. Should we? Shouldn’t we? What’s in it for us? Me. Me. Me.

It’s my fervent prayer that the 65% of Americans of whom Senator Rubio has spoken as being dead-set-against Trump will pull this country back from the brink. Americans are proven risk-takers. They love gambling, especially when the winnings are in the billion-dollar range. Just as with the recent power ball jackpot, Trump’s followers are hoping to win big with the billionaire businessman. What they don’t realize is that he’s no dummy…he’s in it to win it…for himself.

Trump is about Trump, first and foremost. Whatever wheeling and dealing he does will benefit his coffers above all else. After all, those voting for him aren’t blinking an eye at any of his shenanigans so far. Why would they do any differently after their man is president? Like the man said on January 24 of this year “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Voters have given Trump carte blanche…a complete pass…to do whatever he pleases, whenever he pleases, however he pleases.

I for one think the man is a pig. And the only pig whose stuffed likeness I’d put in the White House is Miss Piggy. Although I’d be up for stuffing Trump and exhibiting him as a trophy over some fireplace mantle in some lodge in Alaska…alongside his surrogate, Sarah Palin.

…can you tell?…

…i’m p/o’d.

………hugmamma.

(photo…businessinsider.com)