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It seems that our President can always find something to complain about. He claimed that there was an evil campaign by Democrats to outlaw the phrase “Merry Christmas.” Apparently President Trump vowed to bring that back to the American pubic. Huh? Did I miss something? After viewing the “ TV Ad” or public notice that showed various people saying “Thank you President Trump, for saving our jobs” and other things, ending with a little girl saying “Thank you for letting us say “Merry Christmas” again.” I was saying it throughout December to family, friends, shopkeepers, store personnel, etc. I just can’t keep up with all the bizarre things that our president gets involved with. Does he wake up everyday looking for a new enemy, or something to blame on the Democrats, or some person to disparage via his Twitter account? Politics, as it is practiced today, seems to create so many problems. It truly is a contest, Democrats vs. Republicans, endlessly. President Trump wants to be the best, the first, number 1, endlessly. Trump lies regularly. He’s often corrected immediately but he’ll never apologize, for anything. Narcissists don’t apologize for anything, ever.

President Trump won an important victory for his party. The President and Republican leaders celebrated that they were able to pass a tax overhaul bill which is going to cost $1.5 TRILLION dollars. The overhaul of the tax policies will benefit corporations and rich taxpayers the most. Millions of American taxpayers could lose their health care. That’s a big issue for American families. It’s very hard to cope with the unknowns of Washington policies. I would be totally unhinged if I lost the health insurance I currently have.

Here in California, we’ve experienced a year unlike any other. Fires in the mountains and foothills in northern and southern California have been devastating, absolutely horrific. The wine country in Northern California was affected but more, important, many, many homes were lost. Some neighborhoods were wiped out, while one house left still standing. In recent days, Southern California mountain ranges have been burning continuously for days. It’s being called the Thomas fire and ranges from the farming community of Fillmore to the seaside community of Ventura and northward to areas of Santa Barbara. It’s estimated to burn 300,000 acres of land. The cause isn’t known but it could have been caused by humans.

This current fire killed one fireman who was stationed in southern California. He was part of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, San Diego Unit. For big fires, firemen from all over the state gather at he most dangerous fires. Cory Iverson, 32 died from smoke inhalation and burns. His death was mourned by his co-workers and many others around the state. He was taken to his home-site by a group of firemen in a convoy of vehicles. People gathered on overpasses on several freeways and saluted this distinctive hero, who was married, with a 2-year old daughter and with another child due in a few more months.

These fires had as many as 7,000 fire personnel out on the hillsides. Prisoners who are trained to fight fires were also working. Out of control fires are heartbreaking, for those who lost their homes, those who battled the elements to fight the fires that were breaking out all around the state. We are told by the experts who study fires that they will continue like this forever. Many fires are caused by careless people in the forests, but some are caused by natural events such as lightning strikes. I also think California should have its own fleet of water-dropping airplanes. Why it hasn’t happened is a puzzle to me.

In other places around our country people will be tested by other weather events, such as too much snow back East and in the Southern states. This truly was a year where people were confronted by lousy weather: hurricanes in the Southern states and complete collapse of houses, buildings, utilities and more in Puerto Rico. The citizens there are still asking for help, to return electricity and clean water to most of the citizens there. And to rebuild their houses. It’s going to be a long-haul for all of these folks. They’re all Americans and must be helped.

2017 was not one of my best years. It started on day one when I was attacked by a dog, bitten and mauled enough to have to go immediately to a hospital and stayed there for the weekend so I could be watched. It has changed my attitude about dogs and how blind some people are about their dogs. Some people will say, “He’s a sweetheart. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.” They are denying the dangerous their dog could be if not watched carefully all the time. By the way, I’ve always had dogs in my home. My children had dogs around to interact with. No one ever got hurt. That’s the way it should be. So, I still like dogs a lot but I’m much more careful around them.

Despite all our problems Americans are very lucky. We have the freedom to choose a career, or a particular job. We have the freedom to choose, to explore the world, to travel to new and interesting places. We have the right to vote and choose our leaders. We can join a military outfit and serve all citizens that way. People who choose the “helping careers,” such as doctors, nurses, police, sheriffs, fire services, teachers, people who work with the very young, in preschools, or the people who serve those at the end of their lives. Americans can accomplish a lot of things, can explore or even create whole new industries because we learned a long time ago that when people cooperate together amazing things can happen.

It was a pretty good year. Our website is very popular and it continues to bring a lot of news about the jazz scene in L.A. I didn’t go out as much as I used to but I totally enjoyed the singers and musicians I heard during the year. I’m going to try to get out more often. There’s so much talent here in L.A. and beyond. I hope the new year brings good things to all of us. We have an abundance of talented, creative, hard working citizens in America. As long as we elect strong, smart leaders we’ll be A-Okay. My helpful hint--never give chocolate to any pet. It’s very toxic!

Hang in there.

   

“One is happy as a result of one’s own efforts….“the necessary ingredients of happiness--simple tastes, a certain degree of courage, self denial to a point, love of work, , and , above all, a clear conscience.”

George Sand, French novelist and memoirist July 1, 1804----June 8, 1876

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