Sometimes political power is not in the hands of the government but in consumer power…

February 28, 2018

It seems as if public policy debate has moved from the congress and state houses to corporate board rooms and the actions of consumers.

A minority of eligible voters in the United States actually vote but everyone is a consumer of food and durable goods.

So the latest is Dick’s Sporting Goods (800 stores nationwide, according to the Wall Street Journal) is discontinuing the sale of AR-15 assault rifles. The business had already stopped in some of its stores but now says it will quit selling them altogether, it was reported.

This is happening of course in the wake of the mass shooting on Valentine’s Day at a high school in Parkland, Fla. in which 17 students and adults were killed by a young man with an AR-15 assault rifle he had actually purchased legally. And this came after a spate of such mass killings in recent years by perpetrators who primarily used high-velocity rifles aided by high-capacity ammunition magazines (sometimes referred to as clips).

Several large corporations have announced that they will no longer offer discounts to National Rifle Association members. I know some of them are saying that they are not taking a stand for or against gun control but are instead trying to stay neutral in the current debate over gun control. Seems to me that the best way to stay neutral would have been to never have offered the discounts in the first place. But that is just me.

Delta Airlines, headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., has dropped NRA discounts while claiming to be neutral. And for its efforts it has been threatened by some conservative GOP state lawmakers with having a major jet fuel tax break taken away from it. But Delta has a lot of pull in that state being that it is a major employer. And some are worried that any punitive action by the state could backfire by scarring away any possible location of a new Amazon facility there.

Now gun control is thought to be a liberal or Democratic Party issue. I don’t know what moderate Republicans really think on it — most have been scared silent by both the NRA and President Trump,whose position is generally anti-gun control but whatever he wants it to be at the moment — maybe a little gun control.

And now after I posted my original on this he has publicly chided GOP lawmakers for being too afraid of the NRA to enact some gun control — even though Trump still claims to be a friend of the NRA, just not one who will never disagree with the organization. For Trump I think that was pretty well put — that makes himself sound pretty independent. Of course Trump has the advantage in that he has no identifiable principles and seems to just like to tweak and tweet within the whole discourse on issues. But if some good can come of it, I suppose we should take good.

But on the other side of the political spectrum possibly, the National Football League is being abandoned by some supporters or sponsors in the corporate world over the action by some black activists among the players who go down on one knee in protest when the National Anthem is played. That apparently turns off predominantly the white working class folks who love their football and sometimes flying the confederate flag, whether they have any connection with Dixie or not or even know anything about the American Civil War — it’s just a symbol they like. Now I don’t watch football to any extent.  I did happen to take in the Super Bowl this year and enjoyed it. And I have no intention of flying the Confederate Flag (the only ancestor of mine who I have heard of who was in the Civil War was supposedly a drummer boy for the Union side). But even I would be turned off by watching players take a knee during the National Anthem. Did they at the Super Bowl? I missed it if they did.

The point is, however, public policy is being debated in this way outside the halls of government.

There is no more powerful force in politics than the almighty dollar. But in a way it is democratic (small d, not referring to the political party) when those dollars are distributed by the people as consumers, or customers of the major corporations.




Can’t follow all suspected nuts 24-7; excuse for hanging back while children are being killed seems shaky, so does Trump’s bravado…

February 27, 2018

An added note: I find all this talk of mental health concerning mass shootings a little off the point. I don’t see how we are going to get inside everyone’s mind and predict and prevent what they might do. And you cannot arrest or detain someone based merely on suspicion generally. And while it sounds easy that the police just go out immediately and act on citizen tips about someone who did or said something, it is not like on TV where the authorities have time to concentrate on one single case at a time and wrap it up with the help of an array of computers and such at their disposal in one hour or less. And would we be comfortable in an Orwellian world where the thought police really did know what was on your mind at all times? Sure they might stop a mass killer and then they would also go after anyone who did not think properly. Yes, we need improved mental health treatment and a coordinated effort to head off possible bad acts by disturbed people. But the immediate thing that needs to be done is put an end to the free flow of AR-15s or other mass killing machines that have nothing to do with hunting or self-defense. And yes, I suppose that could be a slippery slope to an outright ban on all guns, but the alternative is surely more mass shootings.

An update from my previous post:

So the sheriff deputy that hung back at the Florida school shooting, who was I believe the school resource officer, has an explanation of sorts and reports are that there were several (four?) other sheriff deputies who hung back too. Reports are that the city police went right in upon arrival but it was too late.  In all, 17 people, students and adults, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Fla., were killed and others injured.

I won’t go too far into the explanation, for one reason it did not make a whole lot of sense to me, even if it might be plausible. Something about he did not know where the sound of the pops were coming from and that it had originally been reported as firecrackers. But your are the school resource deputy — you don’t check inside the school?

Time may tell on all that or we may never know.

Meanwhile, our phony-brave president proclaims that the deputy and others who did not go in are cowards and that in fact he thinks that he, himself, Donald Trump, would have rushed in, armed or not. That is an absurd and conveniently unprovable claim. For one thing no one can know what he or she might do. For another what good would it do to rush in unarmed and face bullets that would surely knock you down unless by some miracle you got a jump on the shooter — and there could have been more than one shooter (although there was not in this case).

I also still think that the deputy and others could have a legitimate defense (although from what we know it seems shaky). They were there and Trump was not.

And finally, the  claim of bravery from Trump seems dubious in that all indications are that he dodged the Vietnam draft by supposedly having bone spurs in his feet and yet seems to get around just fine. I always wonder why draft dodgers or at least people who were fortunate enough not to have to serve often seem so brave and ready to fight — or project that attitude.

Meanwhile, the  National Rifle Association has gone on the all-out offensive for fear the gun control forces have the upper hand in the wake of this tragedy. Some of the student survivors have been quite vocal and articulate in their calls for gun control, as have their parents and others.

But reports now from congress are not promising. It seems the NRA wields almost unbelievable power. It not only funnels millions of dollars into political campaigns it has the power to arouse the ire of those who own guns and fear any incursion into the territory of guns rights threatens the very right to possess weapons of any kind. And I am sure if the political will was such they could be right. I’m not sure the political will would ever be such — except if these mass shootings continue at the rate they have been, who knows?

I may have more to say on all this later (or not), but there are other subjects, and I need to keep up on them.

Well one more thing. I think the charge by one NRA spokesperson that the news media loves mass shootings and thus raises hysteria is ludicrous. True news people in general love news — that’s why they are in it. And more times than not what is news, by its very definition, is not positive. The sun came up in the morning and everyone had a nice day is pleasant, but not news. Well I mean if you had a nice day you know it. Good for you. I will say that negative news can be exploited and blown out of proportion. Hard to blow the mass killings out of proportion though.

I do think that CNN, in particular, has, particularly since the election of Donald Trump as president, gone into a more advocacy mode, and perhaps so have some other news outlets. But meantime the Trump forces seem to be doing everything they can to stifle the free press by threats and bogus claims that they have the power to put out because they have the power of government and propaganda behind them. And I will leave that at that.



When law enforcement fails to act on citizen tips and a cop fails to protect, civilization is in trouble

February 23, 2018

At the moment the school cop who was first on the scene but stood outside and didn’t do anything while a shooter murdered students inside the school in Florida has to be the most reviled police officer in the U.S.

For his sake I hope he has an explanation other than a case of the nerves or what some would call cowardice. I don’t know. Maybe there is some legitimate or acceptable explanation — but it’s hard to figure, other than the fact he didn’t want to get killed, and that is understandable — but others there, unarmed, shielded students with their own bodies.

As you must have read, the report came out Thursday that surveillance video shows the cop waiting, failing to go after the shooter as he continued his murdering rampage.

And just as troubling or more so, reports are that there was more than ample and explicit warning of the shooter’s impending actions but local police and even the FBI failed to act.

I’ve been writing to the effect that semi-automatic assault rifles, the weapon of choice in the plague of mass shootings over the past decade or so, so many in schools, should be outlawed.

But the gun lobby claims the best defense is to arm the populace so folks can shoot back.

Like that’s what we need, a war zone. We can compete for violence on the scale of the Mexican drug war.

And I have to admit, if we are to be armed, we’ll have to arm ourselves with AR-15s or the like or we will be outmatched in firepower.

Maybe that deputy didn’t go in for that reason — he was outgunned. But it would seem his duty still was to go in or otherwise what was he there for?

He has opted for immediate retirement it was reported.

Regardless of what we do on gun control we have to finally know that we need better school security.

I never could understand why the cops waited so long to go in on the Columbine shooting years ago — seems like a case of cowardice in the face of the enemy. And I seem to recall a video of a trooper in one of those college shootings just standing there with his gun drawn as you hear the shots coming from inside a building. Fortunately that has not always been the case.

It takes one heck of a lot of bravery to be a good cop. Some have it and some don’t. But we should only have cops who are brave — not reckless, but brave — and they should be well paid and physically fit.

And what good is if you see something say something if it falls on deaf ears?

I don’t think that a fully-armed populace is the correct answer but if legitimate authority fails to act then it might become the answer — and an armed mob is scary and a threat to civilized society.




Was it a fake news or fake news that it was fake news?

February 22, 2018

Is the real news sometimes fake as the fake news?

Had to ask myself that in the middle of the night when I could not sleep and checked my computer to see what’s new.

There was a story circulating on the alt right sites (or at least the ones who like to take jabs at mainstream media) that CNN attempted to hand a scripted question to a Florida high school student in place of one he wanted to ask at what was billed by that network as a town hall meeting on the Florida school shooting. Supposedly the kid wanted to suggest that veterans could be hired as armed guards at the schools. But instead, purportedly, CNN handed him a script, I suppose calling for gun control.

Later this morning when I tried to check one of the sites covering that story in order to read further into it, it appeared to be gone (although I am sure you can find it — nothing, truth or lie, ever really disappears on the internet I am told).

Concurrently there is this story floating around that actors have appeared as students promoting gun control.

Even if even minute parts of all this were true — I mean anything goes on this modern form of communication (or miscommunication) — there is enough footage out there and enough reporting from enough different sources that we know the obvious and understandable truth: folks and their children or visa versa are upset at being the targets of rapid-fire weapons.

(And by the way I did try to check some of this out via the Snopes site, but nothing on the scripted question, or at least when I checked, and I got too bogged down on the other — to convoluted; I gave up.)

Regardless of the facts I am sure that there is a fake news effort out there by forces of or friendly to the NRA or alt right and maybe even the Russians employing fake news to taint or smear the real news as fake news.

In the pre-internet days one had to judge the source to get to the truth. These days you have to judge the source of the source, and that can be difficult to perhaps impossible at times.

All that aside, I am always uncomfortable when journalism becomes an integral part of the news rather than an unbiased observer. And public forums should be an honest, unscripted discussion of issues. And I am in no way charging or believing that there was any scripting (but having never attended one of these CNN-type town halls I would not know). And if something is to be broadcast in a time frame there has to be some order.

I’m not even sure a news organization should stage forums. Doing that by definition makes them part of the story. Of course in broadcast news, in particular, the presenters by being presenters become a part of the story somehow. No way around it really.

I could go on and on about this but I will try not to. But let me add that I wish that for the so-called presidential debates, for example, that we’d go back to a really dull format run by the League of Women Voters in times way past now with the contestants sitting on folding chairs to wait their turn to speak with no fancy stage decorations and where the contestants did the talking not the moderators (and actually political nerd or junkie that I have been I did not think that they were dull) .

And back to the school shooting issue: regardless if there might be some people on both sides of the issue trying to muddy the waters, I think that the gun control movement might catch fire with the populace as a whole if the students and parents can sustain the pressure. It might well spread nationwide.

Little Marco Rubio, the Florida U.S. senator and former presidential candidate who gets millions of dollars from the NRA, looked as if he were shaking in those boots he sometimes wears to heighten himself when he faced the wrath of a visibly angry man whose daughter was killed in the recent massacre.

Angry citizens are the one thing that can beat the NRA.


If you have not read my blogs previously you might jump to the conclusion, understandably, that I am super liberal and maybe against the Second Amendment. Not necessarily so. I consider myself middle of the road in politics and tolerant of that uniquely American provision in the Constitution that is the Second Amendment, even if I think that it is never fully understood nor described by most (including me). I mean it’s only one sentence long and does state that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. But I think to fully understand it you have to read some history and court decisions and be aware of its use of language — its grammar and syntax and the fact there is even more than one version of it.

But if I am correct the official version (my source Wikipedia) is:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Note the confusing use of upper case and I would say at least the last comma. English grammar had not been fully standardized, especially in the United States, I believe, at the time of our founding fathers, but without going into it all I think I am correct in writing that the current interpretation by the U.S. Supreme Court allows some room for some amount of gun control.


A generational change may lead to some sense on guns…

February 21, 2018

I turned off the car radio when a caller into a conservative talk show said the students from the Florida high school where the latest mass shooting took place should “shut up and go back to school and sit down and learn something”.

It seemed apparent to me that the caller felt threatened by some of the surprisingly articulate students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who as survivors of one of the worst mass shootings in the nation, are urging lawmakers to take action on gun control (to no avail currently).

And wouldn’t you know it? Part of the reaction by the reactionary right is to say that the students are being put up to it by subversive gun control forces — a staffer of a Florida legislator even erroneously described a couple of the students as phonies, as actors.

If I had thought someone might come on to counter the caller I might not have switched the radio off, and, actually, I did turn it back on moments later — I was bored. But usually on these shows you don’t get much give and take. It’s usually one-sided. Debate is not what these shows are for. You get listeners and listeners beget sponsors. And for some reason apparently a lot of people just want to have their own beliefs validated and are not interested in sorting anything out.

And left-wing radio talk shows can be just as bad, and ultra left-wing worse. It’s just that there does not seem to be the market for left wing to the extent there is for right wing.

I prefer to think that I am a middle of the roader. And I think that there is such a thing as a middle-of-the-road talk show or one that avoids partisanship, but that’s probably confined to public radio which the right wingers are fond of calling “communist radio”. But with the near eradication of communism or the red menace of the Cold War, the term communist has been supplanted by “liberal”. And I guess liberal is considered bad by some folks because the term means you challenge the status quo. And if you are comfortable with the status quo well then you would feel threatened.

But what if you would just like to change some things but leave other things alone? Like don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken. That is where we middle of the roaders fit in or don’t fit in. No in today’s political discussions you gotta be one way or the other.

It’s hard to stir people up with moderation. And politics depends upon stirring people up.

But on this scourge of mass shootings, primarily carried out with semi-automatic assault rifles (sometimes converted into automatic), there are a  lot of things that could be done I am sure and a lot of things that do not need to be done. We don’t have to ban all guns from all citizens (and I don’t really hear anyone calling for that). We don’t have to abolish the Second Amendment. We don’t have to form a police state.

But it would seem prudent to me that we outlaw private ownership or the carrying of assault rifles. And then every time I write that I feel compelled to answer the retort that if you outlaw guns then only outlaws will have them. But in most of these mass shootings the outlaws got the guns legally. You make something hard to do and it will be less likely — not impossible of course — for it to happen.

And for those who just love to spray bullets out of semi-automatic rifles for fun — not to hurt anyone — geesh! I don’t know, maybe keep it legal to use them at rifle ranges where you could rent the weapons.

Improved background checks for gun ownership might help. Improved procedures for identification and treatment of those who suffer from mental health problems could help too, but to me those are side issues.

Identifying people with mental health problems is like identifying suspected terrorists. We can’t just round them up on suspicion. We are stuck taking them into custody after the fact, after the damage has been done, that is if they themselves survive. And the real frustrating part is that in so many cases, including the most recent, the authorities were aware of the threat but could not (or at least did not) do anything.

As to arming teachers with guns: seriously? I should not make a joke out of this, but have you ever dealt with a classroom of high school students? The temptation would be too much. Okay, that was wrong of me to make light of it — but seriously, I think the goal should be to cut down on firearm danger, not add another element that could lead to accidental shootings and create an atmosphere where the gun becomes the problem solver.

The main problem is that it is way to easy and legal to get ahold of assault rifles, which have no legitimate use outside of the military (save non-human target practice) in a civilized society.

Inertia and the National Rifle Association or NRA seems to prevent lawmakers from acting. Through political pressure and outright bribery the NRA has thus far successfully fought off most sensible gun control measures, including a former ban on assault rifles.

It may take a generational change to get anything done. The students in Florida are speaking out and trying to spread the word to others across the nation.

Meanwhile, back to that caller on the right-wing talk show:

He prefaced his remarks by saying that he was so frustrated (with the talk of gun control by the students) “that my head is about to pop off “. I almost thought he was going to say that “I want to go out and shoot someone”.

And that is the danger. We have some folks out there who are really frustrated and then they get their hands on an easy-to-obtain assault rifle and do some shooting.


All this said, there is always a danger to our democracy in an over-reaction to a security threat. The right wing usually overreacts in favor of choking down on civil liberties, such as freedom of speech (not so on gun rights, though). The left wing might overreact by trying to repeal the Second Amendment or at least interpreting its somewhat ambiguous wording to where it is useless (I realize some say it is not ambiguous). I have to say the Second Amendment does make our democracy unique in that it guarantees citizens the right to own guns and in turn be able to rebel against their own government (whether or not that was the real intent of it). I would not particularly like to see that amendment repealed — it’s so American. Maybe a rewording in today’s language and understandable syntax would help.

Also, there is something to be said for individual citizens having the right to defend themselves. The police usually are not able to respond until after the fact of a tragedy. But do we want shootouts with assault rifles?








Good news, no more sweat shops, bad news, no more jobs..

February 18, 2018

I have long wondered why automation has not come to the apparel industry. It has. Computer-guided machines, robots, can now do what it took vast rooms of people toiling at sewing machines or people working long hours at home to do. And it is threatening to destroy the livelihood of people in places such as Bangladesh where we get most of our clothing.

The good news is that people will no longer have to toil in sweatshops or dangerous factories known for their unsafe conditions. The bad news is that they will be out of work.

The good news is that this could bring a lot of apparel making back to the United States. The bad news is that it won’t bring so many jobs because of the automation.

I used to think what a shame that we have the raw materials here in the United States in abundance, most notably cotton, and yet we have to send it half way around the world to get it made into clothing (or to Central America).

It was my thinking that if we imposed high enough import duties on incoming clothing we could then create conditions that would bring back our own apparel industry. With the automation eliminating jobs overseas that might not be necessary but there won’t be the potential for near as many jobs as there might have been in the past.

And something occurs to me, free-market economics is dealing or may deal with the flood of imports. Don’t need high import duties. Labor costs rose in other parts of the world so they went to automation and that in turn could make our own industry more competitive. Mark one up for free trade.

Also, we shouldn’t miss the sweatshops and the unsafe factories — unsafe because the owners did not want to spend the money to make them safe and because they wanted to keep the workers inside in prison-like conditions working long hours.

We had the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York in 1911 where workers could not escape because the doors were locked, and in more recent years there have been such terrible incidents in places such as Bangladesh.

And I wanted to work this anecdote in even though it really serves little purpose here: a couple of decades ago I was in between jobs as they say when I took a temporary job as a messenger. I was in Sacramento. I was trying to find a certain address downtown. I came up to this building that had large plate glass windows but they were all soaped up so you could not see inside. I opened the door and walked in. What I saw was row upon row of women working at sewing machines. What came next was a man who gently grabbed me by the arm and ushered me out of there. So I guess apparel sweatshops have continued to exist here too (and I have no idea what the real working conditions were there but it seems they wanted to hide them.)

Well, anyway, automation is coming or is here in virtually every facet of work — artificial intelligence even threatens the livelihood of office workers and intellectual pursuits. And this is not just theoretical.

I should be fully retired instead of partially retired by now and not worrying about it, but in my own line of work, truck driving (something I fell into in my second half of life), the future is self-driving trucks. They are already here and have been tested or used in a limited way. No one seems to know exactly how the transition will play out. I am in the over-the-road or long-haul sector of trucking. I have read that the first step will be the changeover to self-driving cars. Even though there does not seem to be a big demand for that currently somehow it is moving that way even so. I think the newer generations of people are not as enamored with personal automobiles as most of us have been in the past — and this may be for a variety of reasons I won’t attempt to speculate on now other than to mention economics. To put it bluntly: cars are just to damn expensive now.

What I’m thinking is that the generations now going into the work force or who will enter in the years ahead need to avail themselves of a lot of education — albeit not necessarily the conventional four-years college type  — for some yes, for some no. What they need is to develop their abilities and mind to a whole array of things in order to take advantage of the work that will be available.

I’ll just take my own work as an example. The nature of trucking or the transportation of goods will change. But I think people will still be involved in the logistical pursuits, they will just need different skills. And those skills may well require more formal and a more diverse education than in the past. And that goes for just about everything.

And then again maybe a meteor or nuclear bombs will wipe out much of our population and all of our scientific knowledge with it and those left will have to go back to the future.

Would they be better off? I wonder.

Maybe it is all a cycle.

Are we at the end of the cycle?


Russians take advantage of public’s gullibility on social media…

February 17, 2018

I’m alarmed and dismayed that it appears so much of the public gets its news off of social media. I mean isn’t that what all this Russia inquiry is all about? The Russians were trying to mess with our elections in 2016 and did so by posting fake news and representations about the sources of news and comments and by posting messages of hate.

Of course the question is also did the Trump campaign collude with the Russians on this or did it help it along unwittingly? I suspect it might have been somewhere between all-out collusion and opportunism on the part of the Trump campaign. Anything to win.

The Clinton campaign may not have had its hands clean either but it lost, so the eye is on Trump.

Thirteen Russian agents were the subject of indictments handed down Friday by the Justice Department. The indictments (it is said; I have not read it all) tell a story of an elaborate scheme in which Russian agents infiltrated our social media and set up fake accounts and posed as American citizens and advocacy groups and stirred up the populace with anti-Hillary Clinton propaganda and various race-baiting tactics and fascist devices such as proclaiming it unpatriotic to support anyone but Trump — well interestingly they promoted Bernie Sanders too.

So why did the Russians promote Trump and Sanders and work so hard to defeat Clinton? You would think that says something positive about Clinton. The Russians were afraid of her. They hardly could be afraid of Trump what with him extolling the virtues of the Russian dictator Putin, so much so that it seemed that he might have a man crush on him.

But I suppose the Russians felt that electing either Trump or Sanders would wreak havoc on our system — probably more so Trump and likely they rightly figured he was the one who had a chance to win.

(But then again, could Sanders have beaten Trump? Who knows? Maybe. Poor Hillary turned out to be one of the most easily unlikable candidates in history. Of course to like Trump you almost have to prefer an unlikable and ignorant bully as president — but apparently some do).

If the goal was to sow discord and distrust among the populace and within the political system, the Russian effort, as reported, was a smashing success, and it is said they are still at it.

Of course the suspicion is that Trump and company were willing partners in all of this and as such were engaged in a Watergate-like subversion of our democracy (and still are?).

And if this is eventually shown to be the case that would be ample grounds for impeachment of Trump — and one has to wonder did he fire FBI director James Comey because he feared what he would find? He did attempt unsuccessfully to force all-out loyalty from Comey and to quash the Russia investigation.

We’ll really know something stinks for sure if Trump fires Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. As I understand it, he has the legal authority to do so, but would he? Would he dare?

Meantime, it is troubling that voters could be swayed by uncontrolled propaganda on the internet. We have always had unchecked political advocacy which 9 times out of 10 is pure propaganda, lies if you will, but the hope would be that discerning citizens depend more on established and reputable news sources and compare reports among them.

Through our history there have always been slanted stories and falsehoods spread through the various media of the times. In the old, old days of our journalism there was often little pretense of objectivity and little guarantee of accuracy. At some point, maybe in the 20th Century, it got better. But nowadays with the world-wide web at each individual’s disposal just as I can without check instantly write something available to the whole planet — the ability to spread falsehoods and misleading information and discord has been enhanced to the point it is almost impossible to counter — almost.

The only way to counter it is by the effort on the part of readers and listeners to not take everything at face value and not let personal prejudices block reason and objectivity.

And why would you fall for something on social media where anyone — including me — can post anything without the check of an editor or an organization, be it a commercial news entity or public broadcasting, that depends upon its reputation, its credibility, for survival?


A major concern on my part is how safe are our computer voting machines from hacking — a lot of reports say not safe at all. And reportedly foreign agents (or internal ones too) have at least made attempts. Call me crazy and impractical, but I would prefer that we go back to paper ballots where there is a backup, and they can be re-counted. In one of the first elections I took part in we were still on paper ballots — and this was in modern times. We can wait for tomorrow or even the next days to know the winners.

p.s. p.s.

And one more thing. Before we all get too outraged about Russian meddling in our elections, we should keep in mind that the U.S. has a long history of meddling in the elections or internal affairs of other nations. Iran, Iraq, Chile, Guatemala, to name a few.