text Letter from Editor

 

 

Sometimes it feels like the world is going nuts! What is going on around us? Why is the news so bad, so negative all the time? Here in California we’re getting ready to elect a new governor and other offices so the commercials are non-stop. Fewer citizens are voting these days, so a lot of money is spent to get them out to vote. I like going to my local polling place. It’s just a part of my routine so I don’t mind. I could vote by mail but prefer going to the local school where the voting takes place. They give me a sticker that proves I’ve voted!

Watching the news on TV is mind boggling sometimes. We have a very unique president in office. The news shows him getting on and off his plane. He’s always busy going to different states to rally the troops to vote for Republicans. I’m sure he gets energized by the crowds who come out to hear him speak. Despite his assistance, some Republicans running for office don’t win. That’s the way things go. It’s politics and these days there are no sure bets.

Right now President Trump is aiming his venom at Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is head of the investigations about issues tied to Trumps’ behavior and some of his associations. The latest scandal, is the news that Trump had a fling with porn star, Stormy Daniels and was going to pay her $130,000. Trump’s associate, Michael Cohen, was acting as the “middle man” who would deliver the money to Daniels. It’s all played out on TV, radio, talk shows etc. She hired a very sharp attorney, who is often seen on TV with his updates. What a crazy world!

There were many details that are surprising. Michael Cohen is currently being investigated for his dealings, his soliciting money from many different corporations in return for meetings with the President. Cohen has amassed millions of dollars from well-known companies for what, favors? Enhanced protections for these money-making entities? Did the President know how much Cohen was accumulating? Did he give him the go-ahead to solicit millions from well known companies? For what purpose? We have nothing but questions right now.

President Trump has so many ways to reach his base of supporters. He goes to rallies to promote Republican candidates, Republican ideals. Is he actually keeping that base close, so when he runs again for his next term he’ll have a real head start? He gets to brag about his successes, his plans without ever accepting any blame for anything. He has a “scorched earth” policy when it comes to Democrats.

The White House itself has been a revolving door of people hired, and fired for different offices. There are actual scandals with some of his appointees. For example, his cabinet includes some real characters who seem to be in it for the money, the perks they can acquire. The man who runs the Environmental Protection Agency has been giving himself enormous perks, such as his own “private phone system,” a regiment of body guards who travel with him, complete with a siren, in order to get around Washington easier. He needs a clear passage when he’s ready to eat at swanky restaurants.

Some of the se appointments that President Trump made are downright laughable. They are people who see themselves as “special,” needing private planes, first class hotels, special items for their offices like $35,000 dining room tables and much more. They are giving themselves many perks and privileges unheard of in many government offices. It all comes out, little by little over time and it truly is disgusting and disheartening.

President Trump has been after Robert Mueller, who is investigating “bad behavior” by many of Trump’s associations, the people who have been in the White House, who have done special favors, special services in the name of the American public. He is looking for a connection to Russia’s collusion in the election that put Trump into office. Some White House hires shouldn’t have been hired in the first place. Like who? Anthony Scaramucci, who lasted 11 days. There was also the man who battered his wife. There have been a number of people fired and people quitting their jobs. The White House, in many ways, is a “toxic” work site.

We, as taxpayers are supporting all this nonsense with our hard-earned taxes. We offer everything to a new President. An office like no other. He has his every wish granted. Every bad idea is given a serious okay. He wanted to meet with the ruler of North Korea and a date was set. Then President Trump pulled out, saying he wasn’t going to meet with the leader. He sent a letter but, wait, it might still happen! As the President is fond of saying “We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.”

We’ve never had a president so self-absorbed into his own thinking, his own ideas and opinions. When he was planning to meet with the leader of North Korea, he stated during a speech that he might win the Nobel Price. “I didn’t say that, other people said it,” was his statement. Oh sure, other people quickly said he should win the Nobel award. Such an idea would never pop in his head, right? Our president is nothing if not alert to any possibilities for praise. If nobody steps up, he’s ready to praise himself, but he’s surrounded by lots of people who know that his outsize ego must be stroked all the time. What a shame that we can’t expect more from the leader of our country.

All we, as citizens, can every do is take care of our own households, our own communities and continue to believe that no matter what happens, our country, our way of life, will persist.

Hang in there.

 

 

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR May 2018

The world has become a very chaotic, even bizarre place in the past few months. Nothing is surprising to me anymore. The news was about a woman named Stormy Daniels who has been all over the TV landscape because she supposedly had an affair with President Donald Trump. She was offered $130,000 to basically go away. She is a porn star and was all over the news, with her attorney, stating that she was being forced to an agreement for her silence. The president’s attorney claimed that he took out an equity loan against his house in order to pay the money. The lawyer is very loyal to President Trump, but the porn star claims she was harassed by a thug one time in a parking lot. With her baby in the car. She claimed to feel very threatened by the encounter. There s a conflict about the original agreement, because President Trump never actually signed the document(s). Now the president’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, is under a lot of pressure by the feds. Will he remain loyal or will he flip on the president?

It parallels events here in California, where some elected legislators have lost their jobs for inappropriate behavior with their staffers. Harassing women seems to be the biggest danger these days on the political scene. But here in California, we’re always trend setters, so we have a female politician who is being charged with inappropriate behavior with male staffers. It boggles the mind!

Sadly, Bill Cosby has just been found guilty of sexual harassment of a woman acquaintance. He has battled accusations from several women who claimed that he drugged them, then took advantage of them sexually. Cosby starred in his own TV show for years that was hugely popular. I enjoyed that TV show myself. It was funny, fresh and presented a typical family getting through everyday problems.

For Bill Cosby to come to such an end is bizarre, to say the least. It reminds me that we, as citizens of the most powerful country in the world, can always be stunned by the behavior of some people here. I am amazed at some of our president’s ideas, his utterances, his unbridled anger, hatred of others. His name calling is ugly and persistent. He goes to rallies and spouts off to applause and cheers. He is incapable of ever saying he might be wrong, about anything. He’s become a president who must be tolerated.

Trump’s world, in the White House must feel like a three-ring circus with people being hired, fired, dismissed, ignored, vilified. Is he admitting only incompetent people as his “helpers’’? The discord and anger among the staff must be paralyzing. How do they get anything “reasonable” done? That’s what I am wondering myself. How can anything good be accomplished in such chaos? President Trump is damaging the reputation, leadership and future of our country with his anger, name calling, bullish behavior and nasty rhetoric. Why is he so protective of Russia and its leader, Putin?

We have policies and structure in place to investigate our concerns about the behavior of leaders. Presidents have had to justify or explain their behavior. It takes a lot of effort and time but the truth comes out. Bad behavior does get examined. Former President Nixon was forced out and former President Clinton was investigated and humiliated on TV for the whole world see and hear. American leaders can be chastised and booted out for bad behavior. Our current president is certainly on the brink of disaster all the time. His arrogance will eventually be his downfall. When it happens we’ll get through it. We may be a little battered but we will prevail.

Is there anything good going on? Yes, there are good things to enjoy, to make up for chaos in high places. We’re coming to the summer season, where events are plentiful. The Playboy Jazz Festival will be coming up in June at the Hollywood Bowl. For jazz fans, it’s essential. It becomes THE event of the year, where top talent is headlined over a two-day weekend. The founder of the festival and founder of Playboy magazine has passed away. He lived a long and interesting life and did a lot to promote jazz.

Sadly, we don’t have as many jazz clubs as we used to have in L.A. Running music venues is a lot of work, so many just couldn’t manage to hang on. Restaurants are the place where jazz is being featured now. We still have a few main spots, such as Catalina’s Vitello’s, Bar Fedora, Vibrato, Viva Cantina and a few others are still very active. There is so much competition now, in the L.A. area, with so many restaurants that many simply can’t afford to hire musicians.

This summer we can find all kinds of music in parks and at some beach locations. Grand Park, downtown, will have big events which often feature music. The L.A. County Museum on Wilshire Blvd. has had a long-running jazz series outdoors. The Autry Museum in Griffith Park has a Latin jazz & salsa program that caters to dancers. It’s a perfect location, with plenty of free parking. Pop music groups can be found all over our area so check with local newspapers for events. Many of these events are free.

The Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival takes place on May 26 & 27 at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park. The lineup includes Eddie Money, Dave Mason, Devon All,am Project with Duane Betts, The Chambers Brothers, Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band plus many more. For more info see www.simicajun.org and/or www.cajunbluesblog.com

There is an alternative to worry and strife…it’s called music!

Hang in there.