Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Longest War

The Liar in Chief addressed the nation on Monday night to talk about his new strategy in Afghanistan, which is the same as the old strategy, but with fewer details. Here are a couple of the things he said that I felt I had to respond to:

“When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry and no tolerance for hate.”

No, Mr. President, that is not true. Too many people who call themselves patriots are prejudiced, bigoted, and hateful. You, sir, are one of the greatest examples of this. When you said that Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists, when you encouraged people not to trust their Muslim neighbors, when you call women fat or ugly, and call residents of our great American cities thugs and drug addicts, when you say that a war hero who endured torture on behalf of our nation is not heroic because he was captured, you show quite clearly that patriotism is not a cure for prejudice, bigotry, and hate. 

“Let us make a simple promise to the men and women we ask to fight in our name, that when they return home from battle, they will find a country that has renewed the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that unite us together as one.”

These words sounds so lofty and uplifting, Mr. President, but coming out of your mouth they smell like dog droppings and reveal you as a hypocrite. Sir, you make the promise first. You promise that you will be loyal to the American people above your loyalty to your business interests around the world, to your family who may have broken laws in order get help from the Russians to get you elected, and to your friends and supporters who may have done the same. We know from former FBI Director James Comey that when you use the word loyalty, you mean a willingness to overlook morality and ethics in order pay fealty to you, we know from your use of the word loyalty in referring to some of the people who helped you get elected who you later fired and called losers that loyalty only extends in one direction as far as you are concerned—towards you. As to love? We see no evidence that you understand the word. Here are some things you profess to love: war, Wikileaks, fighting banks (which I suppose means welshing on your debts, not making sure banks are regulated to protect us), women (ummm…Access Hollywood?), the old days, buying a building, Mexico (yes, really, you said that), China (yep, that too). 

“When I became president, I was given a bad and very complex hand. But I fully knew what I was getting into, big and intricate problems. But one way or another, these problems will be solved. I’m a problem solver. And in the end, we will win.”

We know you too well by now to swallow your lies and excuses or to believe your promises. When you ran for president you never tired of blaming everyone else for the problems that the U.S. faces around the world, but you continually told us that solving them would be easy. You claimed to have secret plans to destroy ISIS “very quickly, very fast.” Earlier in this same speech, you admit that your instinct was to pull out of Afghanistan, but you studied it, you said, “in great detail and from every conceivable angle.” And now you’ve decided, as you apparently did in relation to ISIS as well, to basically follow the same plan Obama and his generals laid out for you. Except you think being secretive about how many troops you might send and for how long you might keep them there is going to make a tremendous difference. Oh, yes, and you’re making another promise you can’t keep, that in the end “we will win.” You’d be better off, sir, to acknowledge what most world leaders understand: no one wins in war, and it’s likely to be very tough and in the end, there are no guarantee things will get better for the Afghan people no matter how much time and money we spend fighting there.

“We will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live or how to govern their own complex society. We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists.”

I have a question. If we don’t care how other countries govern, why don’t we just leave Afghanistan and let the chips fall where they may? Why should we care who governs if we don’t care how? If the Taliban take over and decide to make women cover themselves from head to toe and chop heads off anyone who complains, so what? Why did you threaten Venezuela recently? Who cares if Maduro starves his people? Or the Cubans for that matter? Why do you care if they throw dissidents in jail? You don’t seem to care that Duterte is murdering his people in the Philippines. You praise him for solving the drug problem by shooting drug dealers without a trial. Oh, and Putin, Russia. What exactly are the criteria for being a friend of the United States of Trump? Is it merely promising not to directly attack our “homeland?” Or does it have something to do with whether we’re allowed to sell things in your country? Or perhaps whether or not you’re willing to open a Trump hotel or golf course? And what does this mean that you also said on Monday night: “As the prime minister of Afghanistan has promised, we are going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of this war to us.” Seriously, what does that mean? Is that like, we’re going to go into one of the poorest countries in the world and try to make money off them to pay us back for helping them? Is that money going to the U.S. government or to your cronies? I’ve got an idea, how about heroin? Let’s help them grow poppies, make heroin, and then sell it back to them! Ever heard of the Opium Wars? No, I’m not talking about gang fights in Chinatown.

“And we must achieve an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the enormous price that so many have paid.”


I’ve heard these words before from a man who was President when I was just turning draft age in 1969. “Peace with honor,” Nixon said. Then he proceeded to bomb the bejeezus out of North Vietnam in addition to Laos and Cambodia because they were offering safe harbor to the rebel fighters. In the end, some five years later, with tens of thousands more Americans dead or maimed and who knows how many southeast Asians, we left with our tails between our legs and Nixon resigned. Let’s get to the resignation part sooner this time. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Better Day Will Come

Every so often I get inspired to write a song (there were a few years in my life when I wrote dozens, but in recent years, one or two or year is all that come). But I was in a music rich environment--the Appalachian String Band Music Festival, better known as Clifftop, among old-time musicians last week. It's an amazing experience at Camp Washington Carver in the hills of Fayette County, WV where every year thousands of musicians who play fiddles, banjos, guitars, and assorted other string and non-string instruments gather for 10 days of camping, jamming, dancing, and competing in individual and band contests. My brain was full of music, and I wrote four new melodies. One of them was especially beautiful, not just in my opinion, but in the opinion of several who heard and played it. I was asked what the title was, and answered, I don't know, but it feels hopeful. When I play it, I keep thinking that it's saying a better day will come. "That's your title," he replied.

The morning I was packing to leave, words to it started coming to mind, and as I drove, I sang into my i-Phone. In the next couple weeks I plan to record a simple version of it, but I hope I can convince other musicians to record it as well. I could imagine it being orchestrated or being played by a rock band, a string band, or an acapella choir. Here are the lyrics:

A Better Day Will Come
by Paul Epstein ©2017
We are frightened. He is ignorant and rude.
They are threatening our whole way of life. 
We’re resisting. We are marching in the streets.
We are ready for a long and brutal fight.

Take my hand. Give your heart.
We don’t know where this will end, but we must start.
For the good of all, we’ll find a way.
We must believe that there will come a better day.

We are angry. We want justice for all.
We should make the wealthy pay their share.
There’s corruption going right to the top.
We will fight for our rights and what is fair

Decent jobs, living wage,
We need health care for all without delay.
Get out the vote, make calls, or pray
We must believe that there will come a better day

Take my hand. Give your heart.
We don’t know where this will end, but we must start.
For the good of all, we’ll find a way.
We must believe that there will come a better day.



Friday, June 16, 2017

Out, Out Damn Trump!

Here we are, five months into a presidency that may last another 3.5 years or longer. Any hope we had that Mr. Trump would actually lead the country responsibly are gone, and many around the world wonder what kind of place the U.S. and the world will be after his term. I think we must consider impeachment. It could result from any number of “high crimes and misdemeanors” Trump may have committed, including but not limited to collusion with a foreign government to sway our election, accepting money or favors from foreign governments or businesses and possibly granting return favors, obstruction of justice, abuse of power, or something we can’t even imagine at this point. 

In the recent Senate Intelligence Committee hearing with Jeff Sessions, Republican Senator Tom Cotton asked him if he liked spy novels and then expressed skepticism about the lines of questioning by Democrats, asking, ”Have you ever…heard of a plot line so ridiculous that a sitting United States senator and an ambassador of a foreign government colluded in an open setting with hundreds of other people…?”

They had a good laugh. But I didn’t. I have frequently said and heard scholars of U.S. history say recently, “you can’t make this stuff up,” or “this is the stuff of spy novels,” or “anyone who wrote a novel in which a preposterous character like Donald Trump gets elected president couldn’t find a publisher.” Unprecedented has probably become the most used word in media these days.

I would like to engage in my own penchant for writing fiction and send a message from an imaginary centrist Trump supporter who has decided he or she made a mistake.

“I believed him when he promised he would make America great again. I believed him when he said he would put Democrats and Republicans in a room and make them solve problems, I believed he would repeal and replace Obamacare with something better that would cost less, bring back all kinds of great jobs, rebuild our infrastructure. I believed we would have such an economic boom that he could cut taxes and still have money for tax cuts and infrastructure projects without raising the debt. I believed him when he said he would protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. 

“But now I’m beginning to understand that his exaggerations and boasting are something more than campaign strategy. I don’t see how he could claim that the House health care bill, which the CBO said would cause 24 million Americans to lose their health insurance could be the “great plan” he said it was. Now he calls it “mean.” So I wonder what the Senate will come up with and how much less “mean” that will be. Does that mean it will only kick half as many off their insurance? Will we really be covered for pre-existing conditions? And during the campaign he railed against Wall Street and said he would go after hedge fund managers and make them pay their fair share. But I haven’t heard anything about that since, and now there’s a bill to roll back the protections they passed after the financial crisis of 2008. 

“I know in his first couple weeks he made a big deal about calling some CEO’s and talking about keeping jobs in the U.S., and maybe he helped save a few jobs, and the economy seems to be humming along, but it doesn’t seem much different than it was in the last few years. We’ll see. But when you combine all that with some of the crazy tweets and the way he just goes after everybody, including Comey, who, you know is a pretty straight shooter, and now supposedly Mueller, the former FBI director who is investigating him, well, it just seems like he must be hiding something to be so afraid of just letting them do their jobs.”

Yeah, I know, it’s fiction. Trump supporters for the most part are die hards wearing blinders and reading, listening to, and watching the media that reinforces their belief in Trump. But actually only about 38% percent of voters view him favorably (according to FiveThirtyEight.com), down from a high of 48% after the election. So, perhaps, before the 2018 mid-terms, Republicans in Congress will decide he’s more of a liability than an asset and start impeachment proceedings. If not, the other 50-60% of us better get to the polls and elect a Congress that will.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

End of Year Musings....

It being almost the end of the year, and seemingly, perhaps, once again, almost the end of the world, it seems like a good idea to sum up where my head is at, as we used to say back in the day…a day which seemed as cataclysmic as the world appears now. 

The big difference, of course, is in the day to which I refer I was young and alternately idealistic and fatalistic. And now I’m old(er) and….well, I guess not that much has changed. Back then I had to constantly figure out how I was going to make a living, though actually my goal as a hippie was not to have to make a living, but live off the land, or at least off the easy pickings of a wealthy and wasteful society. 

After graduating high school and spending one semester in college, I hit the road with my girlfriend (my “old lady” in the parlance of the day). I had briefly flirted with the idea of political activism against the Vietnam War, but after being pepper gassed during the November 1969 Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam march in D.C., I decided that being anti-war was too dangerous. I had already “turned on and tuned in,” but now I dropped out. After some hitchhiking adventures, we landed in rural central Maine in ‘71. I built a cabin out of poles and scrap lumber and lived off the grid—hauling water, chopping firewood, using kerosene lamps. I read a lot and I got a guitar and learned to play. As much as I hated to, I learned how to keep a car running, because I could only afford junkers that needed to be tinkered with every other day. I even rebuilt an engine. We were living off a couple thousand dollars saved over my childhood from what was supposed to be a college savings account. 

As the money began to run out, we found some odd jobs, and then I joined a bluegrass band playing bass. I’d never played bass before that, but she had, in high school, and she showed me the basics after we retrieved it from her parents’ house in Virginia. We spent three years surviving Maine winters before moving to the much more hospitable (though no less rural and poor) climate of West Virginia, where I still live, though now I live in town.

So now, in retirement again (I always called that period of time my early retirement…), I have time to pursue whatever interests I wish without worrying about where the money for food, shelter, and transportation will come from. When I first retired, four years ago, I thought I’d read, play music, and go contra dancing more, which I’ve done, though not as much as I thought I would. After the poisoning of our water system in Charleston, WV in January, 2014, I turned to environmental activism, vowing to raise money to support state efforts to end mountaintop removal coal mining, a big polluter of the state’s water, air, and destroyer of land. I found fundraising frustrating and not how I wanted to spend my retirement and after about six months work, during which I raised about $5,000, I put that to bed, joined with some people working on climate change issues (after all, stop burning coal, and the mines will close), and cut back on my commitment of time. In the interminable 2016 election season, I spent much too much time reading about it, watching cable news, and arguing with people on Facebook (mostly with progressives who I tried to convince to stop slamming Hillary).

Now, as a dangerous man has taken over our government with the help of a once decent political party that has become deplorable, I’m ready to drop out again (not into turning on anymore, and was never sure what it meant to tune in). My wife is off in Colorado for the winter where she is helping care for two grandchildren under 3 years old. I find myself reading more, watching entertainment TV (Netflix and PBS) rather than news. More and more, I’m turning to music (though I’m also going off to contra dance weekends). I play my fiddle every day, working on refining a few tunes to play in contests. But I’m also singing and playing guitar more. I’ve been attending a small weekly acoustic jam session and taking a bluegrass songbook along. I still play in a band, the Contrarians, which plays occasionally for contra dances, mostly in the southern Appalachians, and I write instrumental music for that. Sometimes I write a new song or tinker with an old one. I bought a small camper, which I’m planning to drive to Florida for the month of January, where I’ll also attend a couple contra dance weekends. I spend at least an hour almost every day working out (in summer, riding my bike, now at the Y). Oh, and I’m making an effort to learn Spanish. Maybe I can practice in Florida.


I thought when I started writing this that I might have some words of wisdom, but I’m not sure I do. I know that resistance and political activism is important. I know that if Trump turns out to actually be Hitler, I may have to live (or die) with the guilt that I did not do everything I could to stop him. But, I suppose I am still the child of the sixties I was in my youth: somewhat entitled, self involved, more into self-actualization than self-sacrifice. I did spend almost thirty-five years in the workforce as a social worker and an elementary school teacher. It’s hard to know the impact I made, but I worked hard with kids who needed a lot of help. This year, in addition to my state teacher’s pension, I’m eligible for Medicare. I plan to begin taking Social Security in 2018. Of course, if they mess with my retirement, I’ll be ready to march on Washington again. I dare them to gas an old man like me!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mr. Trump, Build that Wall! (around your business empire)

Open Letter to President-elect Trump
Sir,

You have apparently won the presidential election by winning more electoral votes than your opponent while losing the popular vote by over 2%. As of now only 46% of voters have chosen you. Before the election, it was widely reported that you were one of the most distrusted presidential candidates ever to run for office as the nominee of a major party, and many who voted for you have said they did so despite their distrust. 

It is not surprising that you would feel appreciative to those who supported you during your campaign and want to fulfill your promises to them. However, every elected official in a Democracy has a responsibility to his constituents whether they voted for him or not. In this case, those of us who did not vote for you should not have to point out that we outnumber those who did and are deserving of a president who will work for us honestly.

We know that there is controversy over just what is required under the laws of the United States to meet the ethical and legal standards for a president to avoid a conflict of interest. Given the distrust the majority of the American people have for you, it would be in your best interest and the best interest of the country for you to err on the side of caution in avoiding even the appearance of such a conflict. Turning your business over to your children does not do that. Nor will it protect your from violating the Emoluments clause of the Constitution which prohibits you from accepting foreign gifts. Benefits and favors from foreign and domestic interests, whether you seek them or approve of them or not, are likely to come to the businesses your children run in your absence, and will benefit them now and you when you no longer serve. This is unacceptable, and will likely embroil the country in a Constitutional crisis as legal challenges are made to this arrangement.

When you decided to run for president, you decided to enter public service. People who enter public, or government service, make sacrifices and willingly give up careers in the private sector that could earn them far more than a government salary. Yet they willingly do so, some even considering it a patriotic duty. It is time for you to make the sacrifice you signed up for. Ideally, you would sell your businesses or immediately put them up for sale. Other very smart people, including Andrew Ross Sorkin have put forward other proposals short of that, such as hiring a “ ‘corporate monitor,’ an independent overseer with unfettered access to your organizations who will provide regular reports to the public about any possible instances of conflicts.” The Economist magazine goes a step farther, recommending you “must ring-fence (your) private interests and put them under independent supervision.”

Many of those who did not vote for you have serious concerns about your lack of experience and basic ability to competently fulfill your duties of president. Your behavior in the past and in the present, such as your dishonest and incendiary Tweeting, continues to cause us concern. Yet, as President Obama exhorted us to do, we hope for your success as President, by which I mean accomplishing things that are good for the country and all of its people. Do yourself a favor and take this issue, an issue which could easily lead to an early end to your presidency, off the table. Do it now, before you take the oath of office. 

Respectfully,

Paul Epstein

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

We Got "Bushed" for Eight Years, Let's Not Get "Trumped"


At the beginning of the 21st century, the American people got snookered by a Republican president who talked a good game and seemed tough and strong, but was incompetent. By the end of his two terms, we were “Bushed.” Now, we are being "Trumped" by a con man who wants to be the next Republican president.

George W. Bush did not know much about foreign policy, but people thought he was successful in business and Texas politics, very personable and persuasive so people trusted him. While he was born to a wealthy family, his father had been President, and he’d attended Yale, he had adopted a good old boy manner, and people perceived him as a man they’d like to have a beer with. He would be the "decider," who would listen to wiser, more knowledgeable advisors and make the best decisions based on his "gut." He seemed to be compassionate and was thought to be "centrist" on economic and immigration issues. Unfortunately, once elected, he surrounded himself with neoconservatives who believed they could remake the world by creating democracy in the Middle East by force. It turned out he was very much into trickle down economics, so...tax breaks for the rich. And Iraq War, formation of ISIS, Iranian nuclear program development, North Korea developing nukes, big deficits, and the Great Recession.

Trump doesn't know much about foreign policy, but he is a successful businessman, despite several missteps resulting in bankruptcies, and he is a master salesman of a certain kind (the kind who usually sells products on 30 minute infomercials). He won't need advisors and wouldn't listen to them, because he has a "very good brain," and knows "more than the generals,” he assures us. 


Jake Novak, a producer and columnist at CNBC, identified one of Trump's main tactics as puffing, a legal term that allows salesmen and businesses to make boastful claims about their products and services without fear of lawsuits. 

Trump, with a ghostwriter's help to make it coherent, acknowledged this in his book, Art of the Deal, "The final key to the way I promote is bravado...I play to people's fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion."

So his language is full of "the most amazing," "fantastic," "unbelievable," which he might follow with, "believe me." The innocence of this may be true in a legal sense, except when he's made guarantees he can't keep and wanders into the territory of outright lies and fraud, witness Trump University and not paying contractors, fleecing investors, etc. He's had to settle hundreds of lawsuits, which means he went beyond "puffing" many times.

Because politicians have even more speech protection than salesmen, he has moved far beyond puffery to world class lying. When has a politician ever been sued or prosecuted for making unfulfillable promises or claims? After toying around with the birther issue and finding out that he could tell a big lie and convince 20% of Americans to believe it back in 2011, he decided he could up the ante, boost his brand, maybe get a Fox News gig, and who knows, maybe even win the presidency. As he said after a debate, "I am not a debater, but I am a winner. If I am elected I will make this country a total winner." He will do almost anything to win.

So he picked his issue, immigration, and started talking about the great big beautiful wall he would build to keep out all the drug runners, rapists, and terrorists. He uses playground bully's skills at humiliating his opponents and using what psychologists call "projection," accusing others of those things that actually apply to him (I know you are, but what am I? I'm rubber, you're glue) to paint his opponents as liars, corrupt, weak, ignorant, and on and on. He is also adept at manipulating the media, making outrageous statements and tweets that have kept him the lead story almost every day for over a year. He may succeed in winning the election.

So, the media and almost half the American people have been the victims of a masterful con man who seems to be unable to tell the truth at times. When he finally disavowed the birther lie, he found it necessary to add a new lie, that Hillary Clinton started it. 

What can we do? We are used to lobbying politicians, now we have to lobby the media. We need fair coverage. First, while we know Hillary can defend herself, we should demand the debate moderators are prepared. They shouldn't debate Trump, but if the curtains are red and Trump says they are blue, when Hillary responds red to which Trump repeats blue, the moderator should say, "For the record, these curtains have been independently verified as red curtains," and move on. It would be helpful if the networks would run a fact checking scroll during debates or at least show a fact checking website where connected viewers can see real time fact checks. 

News outlets should be using the words lie, untrue, false, falsehood, fabrication, deception instead of softer words like misstatement, inaccuracy, hyperbole. Hopefully, in the few weeks left until the election, those Americans who are being fooled by this man or, perhaps worse, are not fooled but plan to vote for him, will see him for what he is and understand the dangers of a Trump presidency. But we can't count on that. It may be a very close election. The best way to beat this man will be to show up at the polls and get everyone who has not been "Trumped" there, too.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Apple or Bomb? Your Choice on November 8

It’s easier to compare apples to apples. One apple is green, crisp, tart; the other red, juicy, sweet. It’s harder to compare apples to oranges. But how do you compare an apple to a bomb? 

In this election, how will you compare a politician who has spent her career working to improve the lives of children and families with a wealthy businessman and reality TV star.

Donald Trump is a self-proclaimed multi-billionaire who grew his inheritance by making deals that he acknowledges have benefited him while often fleecing others. Trump University, being sued in three class action suits, is described as “a straight up fraud” by the Attorney General of NY. 

Trump refuses to release his tax returns, so we assume he is hiding something. Is it that he pays little or no income tax? Are many of his businesses supported by foreign investors with questionable integrity? Many have speculated that it is his business interests in Russia that drive his admiration for their authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin. Newsweek recently reported after extensive research that “If Donald Trump wins this election and his company is not immediately shut down or forever severed from the Trump family, the foreign policy of the United States of America could well be for sale.”

Trump claims he “is the least racist person you will ever meet.” Yet he has consistently made racist statements about Latinos and Muslims, and his first foray into politics was based on the allegation that Barack Obama was not born in America, an accusation that African Americans correctly interpret as a racist effort to delegitimize the first African American President of the United States. He recently retracted it under pressure from his campaign managers who are trying to make him more palatable to mainstream voters. Avowed racists and white nationalists recognize him as one of their own, however, and have been enthusiastically endorsing and campaigning for him.

PolitiFact, a Pulitzer Prize winning fact checker, has rated 70% of his claims in this campaign as mostly false, false, or “pants on fire.”

It’s hard for the media to stop talking about Trump (hard for me, too!) because he’s so outrageous and skilled at bringing attention to himself. Just minutes after playing clips of Clinton referring to Trump and no clips about the policies that comprised the bulk of her speech, an MSNBC anchor asked, “Why doesn’t she talk more about policy?”

In the recent NBC National Security Town Hall, Clinton had to spend half her time explaining the complexities of her e-mails as Secretary of State, a controversy created by the wasteful House Republican investigation into Benghazi.  Added to endless Whitewater investigation against her and her husband in the nineties that ended up uncovering nothing except a man who lied about his infidelity, Republicans have succeeded in creating the perception that the Clintons are dishonest. If she were the liar her critics claim, somewhere in the eleven hours of Benghazi testimony or the hours of FBI grilling there would have been cause for a perjury claim.  PolitiFact has ranked 72% of her campaign claims as true, mostly true, or half true. Remember, Trump: 70% falsehoods. How do you like them apples?  

But let’s talk policy! There are many reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton besides saving the nation and the world from the turmoil of a Trump presidency. With eight years of steady leadership by President Obama, we have recovered from the Great Recession. We just learned 2015 median wages increased by a stunning 5%! Hillary Clinton plans to increase the job growth we have enjoyed the last 6 1/2 years through a variety of proposals, including increased spending on desperately needed infrastructure projects: roads, bridges, clean energy, high tech. She will work to raise the minimum wage, fight for equal pay and guaranteed family leave, child care and housing for those who need assistance. She will work to improve and expand the Affordable Care Act to cover more Americans and keep health care costs down. 

Unlike her opponent who makes up policies on the fly and makes false claims about the effects they will have on jobs and the economy, Hillary Clinton has devised her proposals over the last year with many top experts, including Bernie Sanders. Go to hillaryclinton.com/issues to read her proposals, including a highly detailed fact sheet outlining how she will invest billions revitalizing coal communities.

West Virginians are struggling. Democrats in our state government have not provided the leadership needed to move our economy forward in a declining coal market, so many have decided to give Republicans a try. Like their national counterparts, however, they spread divisiveness, attack worker’s rights, want tax cuts for the wealthy, and starve needed government programs. Historically, under Democratic presidents, the economy improves for working people and those on the margins more than under Republicans, whose policies favor the wealthy. That’s why I’m excited about a President Hillary Clinton. She may not be the “apple of your eye,” but she’s not the poisonous fruit some portray her to be, nor the time bomb that is the alternative.