Cover up

March is officially not going out like a lamb. A squall just came through here with high winds and hard rain. Snow is in the forecast tomorrow (April Fools’ Day) morning. My ham radio gets weather channels and so I fired it up. A subsequent (yes, too late, now) severe thunderstorm warning warns of gusts up to 60 miles per hour.


Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 1. Rose Mary Woods demonstrates the “Rose Mary Stretch.” By Unknown author – From Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum. "Images on our web site which are in the public domain may be used without permission. If you use images from our web site, we ask that you credit us as the source." Uploaded from Wikipedia in english w:en:File:Rosemary woods.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7278996

Some might remember the “Rose Mary stretch” (figure 1), in which Richard Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, attempted to take the blame for that 18½ minute gap in White House telephone recordings by ludicrously reaching for a phone at the opposite end of her desk while keeping a foot on the pedal that controlled the recorder after having, she claimed, put it on ‘record’ by mistake.[9] It wasn’t credible and no one believed it, even at the time, and this story is not one that has since moved in the direction of exoneration: “Whoever erased the tape pressed Record, stopped the tape, and hit Record again, between five and nine times – hardly an accidental erasure.”[10] But as far as I have been able to determine, she and Nixon both went to their graves insisting this was the case.[11]

That 18½ minute gap helped to eviscerate what little was left of Nixon’s credibility, leading to his resignation—still the only one ever by a U.S. president—in the face of an all-but-certain impeachment trial.[12] The record will show, however, that Nixon at least had some shame—he did resign, after all—certainly relative to a more recent occupant of the White House.

Now we have the matter of a phone call from Donald Trump, placed on a White House telephone, to a representative in Congress, with a White House caller ID,[13] that happened within that seven hour gap in the White House call logs during the coup attempt.[14]

It seems that the only way such a call from a White House phone should be omitted from the call log is if it is classified, unlikely in this case.[15] So we’re increasingly clear that a decision may have been made to expunge the record[16] of calls made during the time of the coup attempt.

Katelyn Polantz, “Judge: ‘More likely than not’ that Trump ‘corruptly attempted’ to block Congress from counting votes on January 6,” CNN, March 28, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/28/politics/john-eastman-memo/index.html

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, “Jan. 6 White House logs given to House show 7-hour gap in Trump calls,” Washington Post, March 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/29/trump-white-house-logs/

Hugo Lowell, “Revealed: Trump used White House phone for call on January 6 that was not on official log,” Guardian, March 30, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/mar/30/trump-used-white-house-phone-call-capitol-attack-jan-6-not-official-log


Ukraine

Alex Gangitano, “Biden has sharp response to reporter: ‘You’re playing a game with me,’ Hill, March 24, 2022, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/599641-biden-has-sharp-response-to-reporter-youre-playing-a-game-with-me

Ashley Parker, Tyler Pager, and Emily Rauhala, “Leaders add sanctions on Russia, warn against chemical weapons,” Washington Post, March 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/24/biden-nato-europe-russia-ukraine-war/

Tarini Parti, Robert Wall, and Catherine Lucey, “Biden Calls for Russia to Be Expelled From G-20,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-meets-allies-in-brussels-seeking-to-end-war-in-ukraine-and-punish-putin-11648112332

Christoph Hasselbach, “Ukraine: Could neutrality really be an option?” Deutschewelle, March 25, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/ukraine-could-neutrality-really-be-an-option/a-61261793

Matthew Luxmoore, “Russia Refocuses on Ukraine’s East After Month of Heavy Losses,” Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-refocuses-on-ukraines-east-after-month-of-heavy-losses-11648243627

Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom, “Will Russians Toss Their Leader?” Tyee, March 25, 2022, https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2022/03/25/Will-Russians-Toss-Their-Leader/

Daniel Boffey, “Russia reasserts right to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/26/russia-reasserts-right-to-use-nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine-putin

William Booth, Robyn Dixon, and David L. Stern, “Russian generals are getting killed at an extraordinary rate,” Washington Post, March 26, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/26/ukraine-russan-generals-dead/

James Kilner, “Russian MP accuses Poland of planning to take Kaliningrad back from Moscow,” Telegraph, March 26, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/26/russian-mp-accuses-poland-planning-take-kaliningrad-back-moscow/

Claire Parker, Robyn Dixon, and Erin Cunningham, “Where was Sergei Shoigu? Russia’s missing defense minister resurfaces,” Washington Post, March 26, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/26/sergei-shoigu-russia-disappearance/

Tarini Parti and and Drew Hinshaw, “Biden Says Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘Cannot Remain in Power,’” Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-and-polands-leader-look-to-boost-support-for-ukraine-11648304117

Nebi Qena and Yuras Karmanau, “Russia shifts focus to try to grind Ukraine’s army in east,” Associated Press, March 28, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-putin-kyiv-business-europe-7386a5893a3b43bad7e438cfe45468c2

Robin Wright, “Biden’s Fate Is Now Inextricably Linked to Putin’s War in Ukraine,” New Yorker, March 28, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/bidens-fate-is-now-inextricably-linked-to-putins-war-in-ukraine

Jon Henley, Pjotr Sauer, and Shaun Walker, “‘Ukrainians are not naive’: Zelenskiy voices doubt on Russian military withdrawals,” Guardian, March 29, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/29/ukraine-russia-peace-talks-istanbul-war-kyiv

Samantha Lock and Léonie Chao-Fong, “Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 35 of the Russian invasion,” Guardian, March 29, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/30/russia-ukraine-war-what-we-know-on-day-35-of-the-russian-invasion

Adam Taylor and William Neff, “Why the world is so worried about Russia’s ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons,” Washington Post, March 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/29/why-world-is-so-worried-about-russias-tactical-nuclear-weapons/

Joshua Yaffa, “Why Do So Many Russians Say They Support the War in Ukraine?” New Yorker, March 29, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-do-so-many-russians-say-they-support-the-war-in-ukraine

Michael Birnbaum et al., “U.S. says Putin being misled, as Ukraine refugee tally hits 4 million,” Washington Post, March 30, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/03/30/ukraine-putin-misled-russia/

Nebi Qena and Yuras Karmanau, “Russia shells areas in Ukraine where it vowed to scale back,” Associated Press, March 30, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-zelenskyy-roman-abramovich-kyiv-europe-ef9c28c44f94b34262fe6b7c296d58a6

  1. [9]Alison Lynn and Lauren Effron, “The Watergate tapes’ infamous 18.5-minute gap and Nixon’s secretary’s unusual explanation for it,” ABC News, June 14, 2017, https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/watergate-tapes-infamous-185-minute-gap-nixons-secretarys/story?id=47926329; Tom McNichol, “Richard Nixon’s Last Secret,” Wired, July 1, 2002, https://www.wired.com/2002/07/nixon/
  2. [10]Tom McNichol, “Richard Nixon’s Last Secret,” Wired, July 1, 2002, https://www.wired.com/2002/07/nixon/
  3. [11]Tom McNichol, “Richard Nixon’s Last Secret,” Wired, July 1, 2002, https://www.wired.com/2002/07/nixon/; New York Times, “Rose Mary Woods, Nixon’s Secretary, Dies,” January 23, 2005, https://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/23/politics/rose-mary-woods-nixons-secretary-dies.html
  4. [12]Alison Lynn and Lauren Effron, “The Watergate tapes’ infamous 18.5-minute gap and Nixon’s secretary’s unusual explanation for it,” ABC News, June 14, 2017, https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/watergate-tapes-infamous-185-minute-gap-nixons-secretarys/story?id=47926329; Tom McNichol, “Richard Nixon’s Last Secret,” Wired, July 1, 2002, https://www.wired.com/2002/07/nixon/; New York Times, “Rose Mary Woods, Nixon’s Secretary, Dies,” January 23, 2005, https://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/23/politics/rose-mary-woods-nixons-secretary-dies.html
  5. [13]Hugo Lowell, “Revealed: Trump used White House phone for call on January 6 that was not on official log,” Guardian, March 30, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/mar/30/trump-used-white-house-phone-call-capitol-attack-jan-6-not-official-log
  6. [14]Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, “Jan. 6 White House logs given to House show 7-hour gap in Trump calls,” Washington Post, March 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/29/trump-white-house-logs/
  7. [15]Hugo Lowell, “Revealed: Trump used White House phone for call on January 6 that was not on official log,” Guardian, March 30, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/mar/30/trump-used-white-house-phone-call-capitol-attack-jan-6-not-official-log
  8. [16]Hugo Lowell, “Revealed: Trump used White House phone for call on January 6 that was not on official log,” Guardian, March 30, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/mar/30/trump-used-white-house-phone-call-capitol-attack-jan-6-not-official-log

War with a forked tongue

Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Donald Trump and his supporters should just move to Russia. It offers the kind of government they like[1] with the values they embrace.[2]

Katelyn Polantz, “Judge: ‘More likely than not’ that Trump ‘corruptly attempted’ to block Congress from counting votes on January 6,” CNN, March 28, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/28/politics/john-eastman-memo/index.html

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, “Jan. 6 White House logs given to House show 7-hour gap in Trump calls,” Washington Post, March 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/29/trump-white-house-logs/


Ukraine

Russia’s participation in negotiations to end its invasion is a farce[3] and its claims of withdrawal[4] are a lie.[5] Necessarily, this will temper any sense of relief that Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has claimed “that ‘no one is thinking about’ using nuclear weapons.”[6]

It is, if anything, a bit surprising that Russia has not already used tactical (“battlefield”) nuclear weapons in its invasion of Ukraine:

“Russian statements, when combined with military exercises that seemed to simulate the use of nuclear weapons against NATO members, led many to believe that Russia might threaten to use its nonstrategic nuclear weapons to coerce or intimidate its neighbors,” the [Congressional Research Service] report stated.[7]

It appears that Russia’s surprisingly poor performance with conventional forces,[8] leading already to an increased reliance on atrocities and threatened atrocities against civilians,[9] could reflect a emphasis on tactical nuclear weapons stemming from “the late 1990s, [when Russia] fac[ed] economic problems that left their traditional army in tatters and the humiliating military stalemate with separatist leaders in Chechnya.”[10]

It is possible that the only thing holding Vladimir Putin back is a “nuclear taboo” to which the U.S. has threatened a strategic response:[11]

In 2017, then-Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten took exception to the idea that tactical nuclear weapons were really anything different than a strategic nuclear weapon. Hyten, who was at that point overseeing U.S. nuclear weapons as the chief of U.S. Strategic Command, described how the United States could respond if another country used them.

“It’s not a tactical effect, and if somebody employs what is a nonstrategic or tactical nuclear weapon, the United States will respond strategically, not tactically, because they have now crossed a line, a line that has not been crossed since 1945,” Hyten said.[12]

Tom Ball, “Ukraine war: Putin ‘at risk of coup’ by Russian security services,” Times, March 23, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-war-putin-at-risk-of-coup-by-russian-security-services-vm6qgxtnp

Nataliya Vasilyeva, “‘Unwell’ Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu disappears from public view,” Telegraph, March 23, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/23/unwell-russian-defence-minister-potential-vladimir-putin-successor/

Alex Gangitano, “Biden has sharp response to reporter: ‘You’re playing a game with me,’ Hill, March 24, 2022, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/599641-biden-has-sharp-response-to-reporter-youre-playing-a-game-with-me

Ashley Parker, Tyler Pager, and Emily Rauhala, “Leaders add sanctions on Russia, warn against chemical weapons,” Washington Post, March 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/24/biden-nato-europe-russia-ukraine-war/

Tarini Parti, Robert Wall, and Catherine Lucey, “Biden Calls for Russia to Be Expelled From G-20,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-meets-allies-in-brussels-seeking-to-end-war-in-ukraine-and-punish-putin-11648112332

Christoph Hasselbach, “Ukraine: Could neutrality really be an option?” Deutschewelle, March 25, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/ukraine-could-neutrality-really-be-an-option/a-61261793

Matthew Luxmoore, “Russia Refocuses on Ukraine’s East After Month of Heavy Losses,” Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-refocuses-on-ukraines-east-after-month-of-heavy-losses-11648243627

Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom, “Will Russians Toss Their Leader?” Tyee, March 25, 2022, https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2022/03/25/Will-Russians-Toss-Their-Leader/

Daniel Boffey, “Russia reasserts right to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/26/russia-reasserts-right-to-use-nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine-putin

William Booth, Robyn Dixon, and David L. Stern, “Russian generals are getting killed at an extraordinary rate,” Washington Post, March 26, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/26/ukraine-russan-generals-dead/

James Kilner, “Russian MP accuses Poland of planning to take Kaliningrad back from Moscow,” Telegraph, March 26, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/26/russian-mp-accuses-poland-planning-take-kaliningrad-back-moscow/

Tarini Parti and and Drew Hinshaw, “Biden Says Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘Cannot Remain in Power,’” Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-and-polands-leader-look-to-boost-support-for-ukraine-11648304117

Nebi Qena and Yuras Karmanau, “Russia shifts focus to try to grind Ukraine’s army in east,” Associated Press, March 28, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-putin-kyiv-business-europe-7386a5893a3b43bad7e438cfe45468c2

Robin Wright, “Biden’s Fate Is Now Inextricably Linked to Putin’s War in Ukraine,” New Yorker, March 28, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/bidens-fate-is-now-inextricably-linked-to-putins-war-in-ukraine

Jon Henley, Pjotr Sauer, and Shaun Walker, “‘Ukrainians are not naive’: Zelenskiy voices doubt on Russian military withdrawals,” Guardian, March 29, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/29/ukraine-russia-peace-talks-istanbul-war-kyiv

Samantha Lock and Léonie Chao-Fong, “Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 35 of the Russian invasion,” Guardian, March 29, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/30/russia-ukraine-war-what-we-know-on-day-35-of-the-russian-invasion

Adam Taylor and William Neff, “Why the world is so worried about Russia’s ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons,” Washington Post, March 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/29/why-world-is-so-worried-about-russias-tactical-nuclear-weapons/

Joshua Yaffa, “Why Do So Many Russians Say They Support the War in Ukraine?” New Yorker, March 29, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-do-so-many-russians-say-they-support-the-war-in-ukraine

Nebi Qena and Yuras Karmanau, “Russia shells areas in Ukraine where it vowed to scale back,” Associated Press, March 30, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-zelenskyy-roman-abramovich-kyiv-europe-ef9c28c44f94b34262fe6b7c296d58a6


  1. [1]Mark Galeotti, “How does Putin extract himself from this nightmare of his own making?” Times, March 5, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-does-putin-extract-himself-from-this-nightmare-of-his-own-making-v2ktvw08g; Julia Ioffe, “Europe’s 9/11,” Puck News, March 3, 2022, https://puck.news/europes-9-11/; Paul Nuki, “Why Vladimir Putin may stay in power longer than we think,” Telegraph, March 8, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/03/08/vladimir-putin-may-stay-power-longer-think/
  2. [2]Jackson Katz, “Vladimir Putin, Right-Wing American Masculinity and the Russian Attack on Ukraine,” Ms., March 4, 2022, https://msmagazine.com/2022/03/04/biden-weak-vladimir-putin-ukraine-russia-right-wing-america-masculinity/
  3. [3]Daniel Boffey and Dan Sabbagh, “Vladimir Putin accused of war crimes as school and theatre are hit in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/kyiv-ukraine-says-moscow-russia-must-accept-ceasefire-as-west-doubts-putin-sincerity; Jon Henley, Pjotr Sauer, and Shaun Walker, “‘Ukrainians are not naive’: Zelenskiy voices doubt on Russian military withdrawals,” Guardian, March 29, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/29/ukraine-russia-peace-talks-istanbul-war-kyiv
  4. [4]Nebi Qena and Yuras Karmanau, “Russia shifts focus to try to grind Ukraine’s army in east,” Associated Press, March 28, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-putin-kyiv-business-europe-7386a5893a3b43bad7e438cfe45468c2
  5. [5]Jon Henley, Pjotr Sauer, and Shaun Walker, “‘Ukrainians are not naive’: Zelenskiy voices doubt on Russian military withdrawals,” Guardian, March 29, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/29/ukraine-russia-peace-talks-istanbul-war-kyiv; Nebi Qena and Yuras Karmanau, “Russia shells areas in Ukraine where it vowed to scale back,” Associated Press, March 30, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-zelenskyy-roman-abramovich-kyiv-europe-ef9c28c44f94b34262fe6b7c296d58a6
  6. [6]Adam Taylor and William Neff, “Why the world is so worried about Russia’s ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons,” Washington Post, March 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/29/why-world-is-so-worried-about-russias-tactical-nuclear-weapons/
  7. [7]Adam Taylor and William Neff, “Why the world is so worried about Russia’s ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons,” Washington Post, March 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/29/why-world-is-so-worried-about-russias-tactical-nuclear-weapons/
  8. [8]William Booth, Robyn Dixon, and David L. Stern, “Russian generals are getting killed at an extraordinary rate,” Washington Post, March 26, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/26/ukraine-russan-generals-dead/; Larisa Brown, Charlie Parker, and Richard Spencer, “Ukraine forces ‘counter-attack’ as Russia loses estimated 7,000 troops and 230 tanks,” Times, March 18, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-crisis-world-war-three-may-have-already-started-warns-zelensky-f5fs72vq5; Larisa Brown and Richard Spencer, “Struggling Russians ‘plant mines’ and dig in for a long war,” Times, March 21, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/retroville-mall-a-symbol-of-new-kyiv-is-destroyed-by-cruise-missile-0znsr9zc9; Helene Cooper, Julian E. Barnes, and Eric Schmitt, “As Russian Troop Deaths Climb, Morale Becomes an Issue, Officials Say,” New York Times, March 16, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/16/us/politics/russia-troop-deaths.html; Mark Galeotti, “How does Putin extract himself from this nightmare of his own making?” Times, March 5, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-does-putin-extract-himself-from-this-nightmare-of-his-own-making-v2ktvw08g; Michael R. Gordon and Alex Leary, “Russia, Failing to Achieve Early Victory in Ukraine, Is Seen Shifting to ‘Plan B,’” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-failing-to-achieve-early-victory-in-ukraine-is-seen-shifting-to-plan-b-11647824374; Jon Henley, Pjotr Sauer, and Shaun Walker, “‘Ukrainians are not naive’: Zelenskiy voices doubt on Russian military withdrawals,” Guardian, March 29, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/29/ukraine-russia-peace-talks-istanbul-war-kyiv; Richard Kemp, “The Russian army has run out of time,” Telegraph, March 22, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2022/03/22/russian-army-has-run-time/; Dan Lamothe, Alex Horton, and Karoun Demirjian, “Ukraine’s military adapts tactics after enduring Russia’s initial invasion,” Washington Post, March 5, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/03/05/ukraine-military-strategy/; Eric Levitz, “Putin’s War Looks Increasingly Insane,” New York, March 4, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/03/putins-war-looks-increasingly-insane.html; Matthew Luxmoore, “Russia Refocuses on Ukraine’s East After Month of Heavy Losses,” Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-refocuses-on-ukraines-east-after-month-of-heavy-losses-11648243627; James Mackenzie, Natalia Zinets, and Oleksandr Kozhukhar, “Russia getting bogged down in Ukraine, Western nations say,” Reuters, March 17, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/shells-hit-theatre-sheltering-ukraine-civilians-biden-calls-putin-war-criminal-2022-03-17/; Justin McCurry, Samantha Lock, and Luke Harding, “Russia targeting cities as strength of Ukraine’s resistance ‘continues to surprise’, UK says,” Guardian, March 6, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/06/biden-and-zelenskiy-discuss-more-aid-for-ukraine-as-russian-attacks-intensify; Ashley Parker et al., “‘No off-ramps’: U.S. and European officials don’t see a clear endgame in Ukraine,” Washington Post, March 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/10/ukraine-end-game/; Nebi Qena and Yuras Karmanau, “Russia shifts focus to try to grind Ukraine’s army in east,” Associated Press, March 28, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-putin-kyiv-business-europe-7386a5893a3b43bad7e438cfe45468c2; David Remnick, “The Weakness of the Despot,” New Yorker, March 11, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/stephen-kotkin-putin-russia-ukraine-stalin; Dan Sabbagh, “Is an outright Russian military victory in Ukraine possible?” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/is-an-outright-russian-military-victory-in-ukraine-possible; Liz Sly and Dan Lamothe, “Russia’s war for Ukraine could be headed toward stalemate,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/russia-ukraine-military-offensive/
  9. [9]Agence France-Presse, “Chernobyl power supply cut but IAEA says ‘no critical impact on safety,’” Guardian, March 9, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/09/chernobyl-power-supply-cut-completely-after-russian-seizure-warns-ukaine; Daniel Boffey, “Russia reasserts right to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/26/russia-reasserts-right-to-use-nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine-putin; Daniel Boffey and Dan Sabbagh, “Vladimir Putin accused of war crimes as school and theatre are hit in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/kyiv-ukraine-says-moscow-russia-must-accept-ceasefire-as-west-doubts-putin-sincerity; Isabel Coles, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Ukraine Awaits Word of Deaths, Survivors After Russia Hits Theater Turned Bomb Shelter,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-forces-attack-theater-in-southern-ukraine-where-civilians-were-hiding-11647511730; Michael R. Gordon and Alex Leary, “Russia, Failing to Achieve Early Victory in Ukraine, Is Seen Shifting to ‘Plan B,’” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-failing-to-achieve-early-victory-in-ukraine-is-seen-shifting-to-plan-b-11647824374; Nick Gutteridge, “Russia ‘stockpiling bodies of Ukrainian soldiers’ to use in ‘false flag’ attack on Chernobyl,” Telegraph, March 11, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/11/vladimir-putin-planning-terror-attack-releasing-radioactive/; Jim Heintz, Yuras Karmanau, and Mstyslav Chernov, “Fire out at key Ukraine nuclear plant, no radiation released,” Associated Press, March 4, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-volodymyr-zelenskyy-joe-biden-kyiv-business-33b6c1709dee937750f95c6786832840; Yuras Karmanau, “Crisis deepens, Ukraine accuses Moscow of ‘medieval’ tactics,” Associated Press, March 7, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-europe-evacuations-kharkiv-01693b3373cf8bcf2400ae29af992bbe; James Kilner, “Russia ‘may be preparing to use chemical weapons in Ukraine,’” Telegraph, March 4, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/04/russia-may-ready-use-chemical-weapons-ukraine/; Samantha Lock, Jennifer Rankin, and Julian Borger, “‘Clear sign’ Putin is weighing up use of chemical weapons in Ukraine, says Biden,” Guardian, March 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/22/clear-sign-putin-is-weighing-up-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-ukraine-says-biden; Justin McCurry, Samantha Lock, and Luke Harding, “Russia targeting cities as strength of Ukraine’s resistance ‘continues to surprise’, UK says,” Guardian, March 6, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/06/biden-and-zelenskiy-discuss-more-aid-for-ukraine-as-russian-attacks-intensify; Loveday Morris, “In Ukraine’s second city, a furious rain of bombs and rockets takes a toll: ‘There are no coffins left,’” Washington Post, March 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/17/kharkiv-bodies-human-toll/; Loveday Morris, Annabelle Timsit, and Jennifer Hassan, “Russia bombs Mariupol art school where 400 people in besieged city were sheltering, Ukrainian officials say,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/mariupol-art-school-civilians-russia/; Ashley Parker, Tyler Pager, and Emily Rauhala, “Leaders add sanctions on Russia, warn against chemical weapons,” Washington Post, March 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/24/biden-nato-europe-russia-ukraine-war/; Ashley Parker, Tyler Pager, and Emily Rauhala, “Leaders add sanctions on Russia, warn against chemical weapons,” Washington Post, March 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/24/biden-nato-europe-russia-ukraine-war/; Tarini Parti, Robert Wall, and Catherine Lucey, “Biden Calls for Russia to Be Expelled From G-20,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-meets-allies-in-brussels-seeking-to-end-war-in-ukraine-and-punish-putin-11648112332; Catherine Philp, Caroline Wheeler, and Matthew Campbell, “Merciless Vladimir Putin shells Ukrainian evacuees,” Times, March 6, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/merciless-vladimir-putin-shells-ukrainian-evacuees-s98r0j50x; Pavel Polityuk and Tuvan Gumrukcu, “Ukraine says Russia snubs plea for humanitarian access to besieged civilians,” Reuters, March 10, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-accuses-russia-genocide-after-bombing-childrens-hospital-2022-03-10/; Reuters, “UN rights office says it has credible reports of Russian cluster bomb use in Ukraine,” March 11, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/un-rights-office-has-credible-reports-russian-cluster-bomb-use-ukraine-2022-03-11/; Rachel Roubein with McKenzie Beard, “Health care is becoming a target in Ukraine,” Washington Post, March 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/17/health-care-is-becoming-target-ukraine/; Jim Sleeper, “Too much reality: Putin’s Ukraine invasion summons Europe’s dark past,” Tikkun, March 2, 2022, https://www.tikkun.org/too-much-reality-putins-ukraine-invasion-summons-europes-dark-past/; Jordan Michael Smith, “Would Putin Really Go Nuclear? Well …,” New Republic, March 7, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/165634/putin-nuclear-weapons-ukraine-us-response; Richard Spencer, “Putin wipes out entire Ukrainian city of Volnovakha,” Times, March 13, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/putin-wipes-out-entire-ukrainian-city-of-volnovakha-b28k0lwh7; David L. Stern et al., “Russian airstrike hits maternity hospital, as officials warn of fast-rising civilian toll,” Washington Post, March 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/03/09/russian-airstrike-hospital/; David L. Stern et al., “Intelligence points to heightened risk of Russian chemical attack in Ukraine, officials say,” Washington Post, March 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/03/11/intelligence-russian-chemical-attack/; Adela Suliman and David L. Stern, “Chernobyl plant disconnected from power grid; Ukraine demands cease-fire for urgent repairs,” Washington Post, March 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/09/chernobyl-ukraine-russia-iaea-nuclear-monitoring-lost/; Adela Suliman, David L. Stern, and Steven Mufson, “Forest fires near Russian-held Chernobyl nuclear plant raise radiation fears, Ukraine says,” Washington Post, March 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/22/chernobyl-forest-fire-radiation-ukraine-russia/; Yaroslav Trofimov, “Ukraine, Russia Agreement on Evacuating Mariupol Civilians Collapses,” Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-and-russia-agree-to-open-corridors-for-civilians-to-evacuate-mariupol-11646470358; Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russian Artillery Kills Ukrainian Civilians Fleeing Kyiv Suburb,” Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-artillery-kills-ukrainian-civilians-fleeing-kyiv-suburb-11646575238; Yaroslav Trofimov and Alan Cullison, “Ukraine Faces Fresh Wave of Attacks Focused on Population Centers,” Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-resumes-evacuation-attempts-as-russia-presses-offensive-11646564330; Yaroslav Trofimov and James Marson, “Russian Forces Kill Civilians, Loot for Supplies in Occupied Ukraine, Residents Say,” Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-forces-kill-civilians-loot-for-supplies-in-occupied-ukraine-residents-say-11647267560; Nataliya Vasilyeva, “Russians borrow from Nazi playbook with forced deportation of Ukrainian civilians,” Telegraph, March 20, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/terror-and-security/russians-borrow-nazi-playbook-forced-deportation-ukrainian-civilians/; Victoria Ward, “‘Atrocity’ as maternity hospital in besieged Mariupol destroyed by Russian air strikes,” Telegraph, March 9, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/09/childrens-hospital-mariupol-destroyed-russian-air-strikes/; Robin Wright, “What Does Putin’s Nuclear Sabre Rattling Mean?” New Yorker, March 1, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/what-does-putins-nuclear-sabre-rattling-mean; Henry Zeffman, “Russia ‘using banned white phosphorus bombs’ in attack on Ukrainian city,” Times, March 13, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/russia-using-banned-white-phosphorus-in-attack-on-ukrainian-city-nj3rq6mg6
  10. [10]Adam Taylor and William Neff, “Why the world is so worried about Russia’s ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons,” Washington Post, March 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/29/why-world-is-so-worried-about-russias-tactical-nuclear-weapons/
  11. [11]Adam Taylor and William Neff, “Why the world is so worried about Russia’s ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons,” Washington Post, March 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/29/why-world-is-so-worried-about-russias-tactical-nuclear-weapons/
  12. [12]Adam Taylor and William Neff, “Why the world is so worried about Russia’s ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons,” Washington Post, March 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/29/why-world-is-so-worried-about-russias-tactical-nuclear-weapons/

A seven hour gap

Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Some of you older folks might remember an 18½ minute gap in White House tape recordings of phone calls from the Watergate scandal.[1] It was part of the reason for suspecting the Nixon White House of a cover-up, part of what led to Richard Nixon resigning in the face of almost certain impeachment.

Now, folks, we have an over seven-hour gap in White House call logs including the time the January 6 coup attempt.[2] Pretty sure the reaction will be different this time around, though it’s worth noting the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette remembered the Nixon-era gap as well[3] as they republished the Washington Post story.

Katelyn Polantz, “Judge: ‘More likely than not’ that Trump ‘corruptly attempted’ to block Congress from counting votes on January 6,” CNN, March 28, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/28/politics/john-eastman-memo/index.html

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, “Jan. 6 White House logs given to House show 7-hour gap in Trump calls,” Washington Post, March 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/29/trump-white-house-logs/


COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

As expected,[4] the Food and Drug Administration authorized a second COVID-19 booster shot for folks 50 years of age and older.[5] It’s been over six months since I got the first booster, so I rushed to try to sign up, but it sure looks like everybody I’m used to going to for this sort of thing has been blindsided by it. C’mon folks, you shoulda had the changes ready to go and somebody with their finger on the Enter key, waiting for the word to come down.

Laurie McGinley and Lena H. Sun, “FDA expected to authorize second coronavirus booster for 50 and older,” Washington Post, March 28, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/03/26/coronavirus-vaccine-fourth-shot/

Luke Money and Rong-Gong Lin, II, “Infectious Omicron BA.2 now dominant in U.S., with coronavirus spring rise likely,” Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-03-29/spring-omicron-ba-2-wave-is-likely-but-how-big-will-it-be

Carolyn Y. Johnson, “FDA authorizes second coronavirus booster shot for people 50 and older,” Washington Post, March 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/03/29/fda-authorizes-second-booster-shot/


Ukraine

Yesterday, I mentioned the Russian concept of vranyo,[6] noting that this didn’t fully explain why so many Russians seem to support the invasion of Ukraine.[7] Today, we’ve got a bit more of the explanation for those poll results people keep pointing to that seem to show that the invasion enjoys wide support.[8]

I strongly recommend Joshua Yaffa’s article[9] even if you don’t care about Russia and you don’t care about Ukraine because it is rare to see in mainstream media an exploration of what researchers call “threats to validity.”

Of such “threats,” I usually focus on response rate, which should be at least 90 percent to ensure a representative sample, but has sunk well below a tenth that,[10] in my view, fatally undermining the methodology. Fundamentally, with such abysmal response rates, respondents are a self-selecting group, and there is no reliably valid way to finagle representation for non-respondents from respondents.

In Russia, a lot of people aren’t answering, saying that to do so is against the law. The temptation is to suspect they oppose the invasion, but we don’t actually know. Again, the people who answer cannot speak for those who don’t. It’s the same problem. And so it is with other threats to validity, like how questions are phrased—they can’t call it a “war”—and how people are primed to answer—they’re told this is a “special military operation” against fascists.[11]

The nuances are different in Russia, especially now. But the fundamental threats to validity are the same.

Isaac Chotiner, “The Purges in Putin’s Shrinking Inner Circle,” New Yorker, March 22, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-purges-in-putins-shrinking-inner-circle

Julia Ioffe, “Hacking Through Putin’s Media Cult,” Puck News, March 22, 2022, https://puck.news/hacking-through-putins-media-cult/

Richard Kemp, “The Russian army has run out of time,” Telegraph, March 22, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2022/03/22/russian-army-has-run-time/

Luke McGee and Claire Calzonetti, “Putin spokesman refuses to rule out use of nuclear weapons if Russia faced an ‘existential threat,’” CNN, March 22, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/22/europe/amanpour-peskov-interview-ukraine-intl/index.html

Adela Suliman, David L. Stern, and Steven Mufson, “Forest fires near Russian-held Chernobyl nuclear plant raise radiation fears, Ukraine says,” Washington Post, March 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/22/chernobyl-forest-fire-radiation-ukraine-russia/

Tom Ball, “Ukraine war: Putin ‘at risk of coup’ by Russian security services,” Times, March 23, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-war-putin-at-risk-of-coup-by-russian-security-services-vm6qgxtnp

Nataliya Vasilyeva, “‘Unwell’ Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu disappears from public view,” Telegraph, March 23, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/23/unwell-russian-defence-minister-potential-vladimir-putin-successor/

Alex Gangitano, “Biden has sharp response to reporter: ‘You’re playing a game with me,’ Hill, March 24, 2022, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/599641-biden-has-sharp-response-to-reporter-youre-playing-a-game-with-me

Ashley Parker, Tyler Pager, and Emily Rauhala, “Leaders add sanctions on Russia, warn against chemical weapons,” Washington Post, March 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/24/biden-nato-europe-russia-ukraine-war/

Tarini Parti, Robert Wall, and Catherine Lucey, “Biden Calls for Russia to Be Expelled From G-20,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-meets-allies-in-brussels-seeking-to-end-war-in-ukraine-and-punish-putin-11648112332

Christoph Hasselbach, “Ukraine: Could neutrality really be an option?” Deutschewelle, March 25, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/ukraine-could-neutrality-really-be-an-option/a-61261793

Matthew Luxmoore, “Russia Refocuses on Ukraine’s East After Month of Heavy Losses,” Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-refocuses-on-ukraines-east-after-month-of-heavy-losses-11648243627

Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom, “Will Russians Toss Their Leader?” Tyee, March 25, 2022, https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2022/03/25/Will-Russians-Toss-Their-Leader/

Daniel Boffey, “Russia reasserts right to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/26/russia-reasserts-right-to-use-nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine-putin

William Booth, Robyn Dixon, and David L. Stern, “Russian generals are getting killed at an extraordinary rate,” Washington Post, March 26, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/26/ukraine-russan-generals-dead/

James Kilner, “Russian MP accuses Poland of planning to take Kaliningrad back from Moscow,” Telegraph, March 26, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/26/russian-mp-accuses-poland-planning-take-kaliningrad-back-moscow/

Tarini Parti and and Drew Hinshaw, “Biden Says Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘Cannot Remain in Power,’” Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-and-polands-leader-look-to-boost-support-for-ukraine-11648304117

Nebi Qena and Yuras Karmanau, “Russia shifts focus to try to grind Ukraine’s army in east,” Associated Press, March 28, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-putin-kyiv-business-europe-7386a5893a3b43bad7e438cfe45468c2

Robin Wright, “Biden’s Fate Is Now Inextricably Linked to Putin’s War in Ukraine,” New Yorker, March 28, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/bidens-fate-is-now-inextricably-linked-to-putins-war-in-ukraine

Joshua Yaffa, “Why Do So Many Russians Say They Support the War in Ukraine?” New Yorker, March 29, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-do-so-many-russians-say-they-support-the-war-in-ukraine


  1. [1]Alison Lynn and Lauren Effron, “The Watergate tapes’ infamous 18.5-minute gap and Nixon’s secretary’s unusual explanation for it,” ABC News, June 14, 2017, https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/watergate-tapes-infamous-185-minute-gap-nixons-secretarys/story?id=47926329
  2. [2]Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, “Jan. 6 White House logs given to House show 7-hour gap in Trump calls,” Washington Post, March 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/29/trump-white-house-logs/
  3. [3]Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to Feed list, “There are words to describe this weather…,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 29, 2022, http://createsend.com/t/t-8EF2CE97367716472540EF23F30FEDED
  4. [4]Laurie McGinley and Lena H. Sun, “FDA expected to authorize second coronavirus booster for 50 and older,” Washington Post, March 28, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/03/26/coronavirus-vaccine-fourth-shot/
  5. [5]Carolyn Y. Johnson, “FDA authorizes second coronavirus booster shot for people 50 and older,” Washington Post, March 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/03/29/fda-authorizes-second-booster-shot/
  6. [6]Dominic Nicholls, “They don’t like it when we don’t nod along,” in Telegraph Dispatches to Telegraph Dispatches list, “Dispatches,” March 28, 2022, https://m.email3.telegraph.co.uk/nl/jsp/m.jsp?c=%40j2yXyyuZgmmW1VHXjnfEndABmYq86lRVzng8tDjyioE%3D&WT.mc_id=e_DM1554300&WT.tsrc=email&etype=Edi_Dis_New&utmsource=email
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Vladimir Putin is a fool,” Not Housebroken, March 28, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/01/24/vladimir-putin-is-a-fool/
  8. [8]Julia Ioffe, “Hacking Through Putin’s Media Cult,” Puck News, March 22, 2022, https://puck.news/hacking-through-putins-media-cult/; David Remnick, “The Weakness of the Despot,” New Yorker, March 11, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/stephen-kotkin-putin-russia-ukraine-stalin
  9. [9]Joshua Yaffa, “Why Do So Many Russians Say They Support the War in Ukraine?” New Yorker, March 29, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-do-so-many-russians-say-they-support-the-war-in-ukraine
  10. [10]Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/; Steven Shepard, “Report: Phone polls aren’t dead yet,” Politico, May 15, 2017, https://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/15/pollsters-phone-polls-238409
  11. [11]Joshua Yaffa, “Why Do So Many Russians Say They Support the War in Ukraine?” New Yorker, March 29, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-do-so-many-russians-say-they-support-the-war-in-ukraine

A federal judge labels the January 6 coup attempt a “a coup in search of a legal theory.”

Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Katelyn Polantz, “Judge: ‘More likely than not’ that Trump ‘corruptly attempted’ to block Congress from counting votes on January 6,” CNN, March 28, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/28/politics/john-eastman-memo/index.html


Police White supremacist gangs

Benje Williams, “‘Follow the damn law.’ A Black cyclist’s scary encounter with a white Placer County cop,” Sacramento Bee, March 27, 2022, https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/article259162763.html

Mick Stinelli, “Jim Rogers death spotlights Pittsburgh’s hurdles in quest to reform policing,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 28, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2022/03/27/pittsburgh-jim-rogers-police-officers-fired-activists-reform-accountability-ed-gainey/stories/202203270153


Ukraine

It does not fully account for the apparently great many true believers in Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric in Russia,[1] but it turns out the Russians have a term for something very close to what I describe in my update of February 20.[2] A Telegraph newsletter describes it thus:

The Russian leader [Vladimir Putin], by contrast, uses a tired and predictable script, and one that relies heavily on the Russian tradition of vranyo.

Vranyo is the peculiar arrangement of Russian social and public discourse that says, ‘I’m lying to you. You know I’m lying to you and I know that you know that I’m lying to you. However, I’m going to carry on lying and you are expected to nod along and accept every word I say’.[3]

Isaac Chotiner, “The Purges in Putin’s Shrinking Inner Circle,” New Yorker, March 22, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-purges-in-putins-shrinking-inner-circle

Julia Ioffe, “Hacking Through Putin’s Media Cult,” Puck News, March 22, 2022, https://puck.news/hacking-through-putins-media-cult/

Richard Kemp, “The Russian army has run out of time,” Telegraph, March 22, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2022/03/22/russian-army-has-run-time/

Luke McGee and Claire Calzonetti, “Putin spokesman refuses to rule out use of nuclear weapons if Russia faced an ‘existential threat,’” CNN, March 22, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/22/europe/amanpour-peskov-interview-ukraine-intl/index.html

Adela Suliman, David L. Stern, and Steven Mufson, “Forest fires near Russian-held Chernobyl nuclear plant raise radiation fears, Ukraine says,” Washington Post, March 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/22/chernobyl-forest-fire-radiation-ukraine-russia/

Tom Ball, “Ukraine war: Putin ‘at risk of coup’ by Russian security services,” Times, March 23, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-war-putin-at-risk-of-coup-by-russian-security-services-vm6qgxtnp

Nataliya Vasilyeva, “‘Unwell’ Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu disappears from public view,” Telegraph, March 23, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/23/unwell-russian-defence-minister-potential-vladimir-putin-successor/

Alex Gangitano, “Biden has sharp response to reporter: ‘You’re playing a game with me,’ Hill, March 24, 2022, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/599641-biden-has-sharp-response-to-reporter-youre-playing-a-game-with-me

Ashley Parker, Tyler Pager, and Emily Rauhala, “Leaders add sanctions on Russia, warn against chemical weapons,” Washington Post, March 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/24/biden-nato-europe-russia-ukraine-war/

Tarini Parti, Robert Wall, and Catherine Lucey, “Biden Calls for Russia to Be Expelled From G-20,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-meets-allies-in-brussels-seeking-to-end-war-in-ukraine-and-punish-putin-11648112332

Christoph Hasselbach, “Ukraine: Could neutrality really be an option?” Deutschewelle, March 25, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/ukraine-could-neutrality-really-be-an-option/a-61261793

Matthew Luxmoore, “Russia Refocuses on Ukraine’s East After Month of Heavy Losses,” Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-refocuses-on-ukraines-east-after-month-of-heavy-losses-11648243627

Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom, “Will Russians Toss Their Leader?” Tyee, March 25, 2022, https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2022/03/25/Will-Russians-Toss-Their-Leader/

Daniel Boffey, “Russia reasserts right to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/26/russia-reasserts-right-to-use-nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine-putin

William Booth, Robyn Dixon, and David L. Stern, “Russian generals are getting killed at an extraordinary rate,” Washington Post, March 26, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/26/ukraine-russan-generals-dead/

James Kilner, “Russian MP accuses Poland of planning to take Kaliningrad back from Moscow,” Telegraph, March 26, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/26/russian-mp-accuses-poland-planning-take-kaliningrad-back-moscow/

Tarini Parti and and Drew Hinshaw, “Biden Says Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘Cannot Remain in Power,’” Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-and-polands-leader-look-to-boost-support-for-ukraine-11648304117

Nebi Qena and Yuras Karmanau, “Russia shifts focus to try to grind Ukraine’s army in east,” Associated Press, March 28, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-putin-kyiv-business-europe-7386a5893a3b43bad7e438cfe45468c2

Robin Wright, “Biden’s Fate Is Now Inextricably Linked to Putin’s War in Ukraine,” New Yorker, March 28, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/bidens-fate-is-now-inextricably-linked-to-putins-war-in-ukraine


Poland would like Königsberg back, thank you very much

Fossil fuels

Northeast

Bob Mayo, “US Steel fined nearly $4.6 million for violations connected with Clairton Coke Works,” WTAE, March 25, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/clairton-coke-works-us-steel-fined-nearly-dollar5-million/39531399


Police White supremacist gangs

There is a new blog post entitled, “How, in fact, do we get to ‘justice for all?’

Benje Williams, “Follow the damn law.’ A Black cyclist’s scary encounter with a white Placer County cop,” Sacramento Bee, March 27, 2022, https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/article259162763.html


COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

Laurie McGinley and Lena H. Sun, “FDA expected to authorize second coronavirus booster for 50 and older,” Washington Post, March 28, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/03/26/coronavirus-vaccine-fourth-shot/


Ukraine


Fig. 1. Historic Russian empire, from the New York Times, possibly March 6, 2014, fair use.[1]

In the ongoing question of just how much territory Vladimir Putin seeks to restore his Russian empire,[2] Maria Butina, now a Russian minister of Parliament, previously prominent for her enthusiastic participation in the U.S. gun nuttery movement before the U.S. accused her of espionage,[3] is now talking about Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave located on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania. Formerly known as Königsberg, it has historically been part of Prussia, Poland, and Germany and apparently “a Polish general said that Russian forces were only ‘occupying’ the Baltic Sea port.”[4] Both Poland and Lithuania are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization[5] and Belarus, a Russian ally, adjoins them to the east.

Ironically, Kaliningrad is not shown as part of the historic Russian empire in the New York Times map (figure 1), although such imperial claims would include both Lithuania and parts of Poland.[6] The Soviet Union occupied it near the end of World War II.[7]

Daniel Boffey and Dan Sabbagh, “Vladimir Putin accused of war crimes as school and theatre are hit in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/kyiv-ukraine-says-moscow-russia-must-accept-ceasefire-as-west-doubts-putin-sincerity

Larisa Brown, Charlie Parker, and Richard Spencer, “Ukraine forces ‘counter-attack’ as Russia loses estimated 7,000 troops and 230 tanks,” Times, March 17, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-crisis-world-war-three-may-have-already-started-warns-zelensky-f5fs72vq5

Isabel Coles, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Ukraine Awaits Word of Deaths, Survivors After Russia Hits Theater Turned Bomb Shelter,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-forces-attack-theater-in-southern-ukraine-where-civilians-were-hiding-11647511730

Yuka Hayashi and Eliza Collins, “House Passes Legislation to End Normal Trade Relations With Russia,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/house-passes-legislation-to-end-normal-trade-relations-with-russia-11647545860

James Mackenzie, Natalia Zinets, and Oleksandr Kozhukhar, “Russia getting bogged down in Ukraine, Western nations say,” Reuters, March 17, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/shells-hit-theatre-sheltering-ukraine-civilians-biden-calls-putin-war-criminal-2022-03-17/

Loveday Morris, “In Ukraine’s second city, a furious rain of bombs and rockets takes a toll: ‘There are no coffins left,’” Washington Post, March 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/17/kharkiv-bodies-human-toll/

Rachel Roubein with McKenzie Beard, “Health care is becoming a target in Ukraine,” Washington Post, March 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/17/health-care-is-becoming-target-ukraine/

Dan Sabbagh, “Is an outright Russian military victory in Ukraine possible?” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/is-an-outright-russian-military-victory-in-ukraine-possible

Joshua Goodman, “American gunmakers help Ukrainians fight back against Putin,” Associated Press, March 18, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-american-gunmakers-3c5fa03742ebc5806293a84a0e2b73cd

Justin Ling, “How ‘Ukrainian bioweapons labs’ myth went from QAnon fringe to Fox News,” Guardian, March 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/mar/18/ukrainian-bioweapons-labs-qanon-fox-news

Rebecca Ratcliffe and Abené Clayton, “Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 24 of the invasion,” Guardian, March 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/19/russia-ukraine-war-what-we-know-on-day-24-of-the-invasion

Michael Levenson, Marc Santora, and Valerie Hopkins, “Deadly Strike on Ukraine Barracks Punctuates Russian Military Gains,” New York Times, March 19, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/19/world/europe/mariupol-russia-ukraine-war.html

Warren P. Strobel and Michael R. Gordon, “Reported Detention of Russian Spy Boss Shows Tension Over Stalled Ukraine Invasion, U.S. Officials Say,” Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/reported-detention-of-russian-spy-boss-shows-tension-over-stalled-ukraine-invasion-u-s-officials-say-11647687601

Devan Cole, “Zelensky: “I’m ready for negotiations’ with Putin, but if they fail, it could mean ‘a third World War,’” CNN, March 20, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/20/politics/zelensky-putin-ukraine-negotiations-war-cnntv/index.html

Michael R. Gordon and Alex Leary, “Russia, Failing to Achieve Early Victory in Ukraine, Is Seen Shifting to ‘Plan B,’” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-failing-to-achieve-early-victory-in-ukraine-is-seen-shifting-to-plan-b-11647824374

Loveday Morris, Annabelle Timsit, and Jennifer Hassan, “Russia bombs Mariupol art school where 400 people in besieged city were sheltering, Ukrainian officials say,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/mariupol-art-school-civilians-russia/

Liz Sly and Dan Lamothe, “Russia’s war for Ukraine could be headed toward stalemate,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/russia-ukraine-military-offensive/

Nataliya Vasilyeva, “Russians borrow from Nazi playbook with forced deportation of Ukrainian civilians,” Telegraph, March 20, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/terror-and-security/russians-borrow-nazi-playbook-forced-deportation-ukrainian-civilians/

Larisa Brown and Richard Spencer, “Struggling Russians ‘plant mines’ and dig in for a long war,” Times, March 21, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/retroville-mall-a-symbol-of-new-kyiv-is-destroyed-by-cruise-missile-0znsr9zc9

Samantha Lock, Jennifer Rankin, and Julian Borger, “‘Clear sign’ Putin is weighing up use of chemical weapons in Ukraine, says Biden,” Guardian, March 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/22/clear-sign-putin-is-weighing-up-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-ukraine-says-biden

Isaac Chotiner, “The Purges in Putin’s Shrinking Inner Circle,” New Yorker, March 22, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-purges-in-putins-shrinking-inner-circle

Julia Ioffe, “Hacking Through Putin’s Media Cult,” Puck News, March 22, 2022, https://puck.news/hacking-through-putins-media-cult/

Richard Kemp, “The Russian army has run out of time,” Telegraph, March 22, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2022/03/22/russian-army-has-run-time/

Luke McGee and Claire Calzonetti, “Putin spokesman refuses to rule out use of nuclear weapons if Russia faced an ‘existential threat,’” CNN, March 22, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/22/europe/amanpour-peskov-interview-ukraine-intl/index.html

Adela Suliman, David L. Stern, and Steven Mufson, “Forest fires near Russian-held Chernobyl nuclear plant raise radiation fears, Ukraine says,” Washington Post, March 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/22/chernobyl-forest-fire-radiation-ukraine-russia/

Tom Ball, “Ukraine war: Putin ‘at risk of coup’ by Russian security services,” Times, March 23, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-war-putin-at-risk-of-coup-by-russian-security-services-vm6qgxtnp

Nataliya Vasilyeva, “‘Unwell’ Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu disappears from public view,” Telegraph, March 23, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/23/unwell-russian-defence-minister-potential-vladimir-putin-successor/

Alex Gangitano, “Biden has sharp response to reporter: ‘You’re playing a game with me,’ Hill, March 24, 2022, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/599641-biden-has-sharp-response-to-reporter-youre-playing-a-game-with-me

Ashley Parker, Tyler Pager, and Emily Rauhala, “Leaders add sanctions on Russia, warn against chemical weapons,” Washington Post, March 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/24/biden-nato-europe-russia-ukraine-war/

Tarini Parti, Robert Wall, and Catherine Lucey, “Biden Calls for Russia to Be Expelled From G-20,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-meets-allies-in-brussels-seeking-to-end-war-in-ukraine-and-punish-putin-11648112332

Christoph Hasselbach, “Ukraine: Could neutrality really be an option?” Deutschewelle, March 25, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/ukraine-could-neutrality-really-be-an-option/a-61261793

Matthew Luxmoore, “Russia Refocuses on Ukraine’s East After Month of Heavy Losses,” Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-refocuses-on-ukraines-east-after-month-of-heavy-losses-11648243627

Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom, “Will Russians Toss Their Leader?” Tyee, March 25, 2022, https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2022/03/25/Will-Russians-Toss-Their-Leader/

Daniel Boffey, “Russia reasserts right to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/26/russia-reasserts-right-to-use-nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine-putin

William Booth, Robyn Dixon, and David L. Stern, “Russian generals are getting killed at an extraordinary rate,” Washington Post, March 26, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/26/ukraine-russan-generals-dead/

James Kilner, “Russian MP accuses Poland of planning to take Kaliningrad back from Moscow,” Telegraph, March 26, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/26/russian-mp-accuses-poland-planning-take-kaliningrad-back-moscow/

Tarini Parti and and Drew Hinshaw, “Biden Says Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘Cannot Remain in Power,’” Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-and-polands-leader-look-to-boost-support-for-ukraine-11648304117

Nebi Qena and Yuras Karmanau, “Russia shifts focus to try to grind Ukraine’s army in east,” Associated Press, March 28, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-putin-kyiv-business-europe-7386a5893a3b43bad7e438cfe45468c2


  1. [1]New York Times, “Ukraine Crisis in Maps,” n.d., http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/02/27/world/europe/ukraine-divisions-crimea.html
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Where does Vladimir Putin stop?” Not Housebroken, March 26, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/04/where-does-vladimir-putin-stop/
  3. [3]Harriet Alexander and Matthew Bodner, “Who is Maria Butina, the gun activist and student charged in US with spying for Russia?” Telegraph, July 19, 2018, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/18/maria-butina-gun-activist-student-charged-spying-russia/
  4. [4]James Kilner, “Russian MP accuses Poland of planning to take Kaliningrad back from Moscow,” Telegraph, March 26, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/26/russian-mp-accuses-poland-planning-take-kaliningrad-back-moscow/
  5. [5]Jesus Jiménez, “What Is NATO and Which Countries Are Members?” New York Times, March 7, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/article/what-is-nato.html
  6. [6]New York Times, “Ukraine Crisis in Maps,” n.d., http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/02/27/world/europe/ukraine-divisions-crimea.html
  7. [7]James Kilner, “Russian MP accuses Poland of planning to take Kaliningrad back from Moscow,” Telegraph, March 26, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/26/russian-mp-accuses-poland-planning-take-kaliningrad-back-moscow/

Nuclear sabre rattling

Ukraine

Russian authorities have reaffirmed their “right” to use nuclear weapons.[1] They keep bringing this up. No one else started this conversation.[2]

And the fourth case [in which the Russian Federation is entitled to use nuclear weapons] is when an act of aggression is committed against Russia and its allies, which jeopardised the existence of the country itself, even without the use of nuclear weapons, that is, with the use of conventional weapons.[3]

Vladimir Putin has rationalized his invasion of Ukraine on precisely these grounds, that the “expansion” of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, really countries joining NATO because they fear Russia, constitutes an aggression against Russia, indeed a mortal threat.[4] And the simple fact is that, thanks to so-called “strategic ambiguity,” really meaning NATO leaders want to sound threatening without actually being threatening and certainly without actually promising to do anything, we don’t know how NATO would respond.[5] But I continue to believe that at some point NATO leadership will accept that Putin must be confronted, just as Adolf Hitler had to be.[6]

That Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has not gone well[7] really only raises this risk: If Russian leadership indeed conceives of Ukraine as an existential threat,[8] then it must be subdued by any means necessary, including, it would seem, by nuclear obliteration.[9]

Further, we must understand that regardless of what Putin really thinks about Ukraine as a threat, if his ambition is indeed the restoration of the Russian empire to whatever boundaries he deems fitting,[10] and it is clear that his military is incapable even of subjugating Ukraine by conventional means, then to fulfill that aim, he will need to resort to unconventional means, including, quite possibly nuclear means.

Michael Levenson, Marc Santora, and Valerie Hopkins, “Deadly Strike on Ukraine Barracks Punctuates Russian Military Gains,” New York Times, March 19, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/19/world/europe/mariupol-russia-ukraine-war.html

Warren P. Strobel and Michael R. Gordon, “Reported Detention of Russian Spy Boss Shows Tension Over Stalled Ukraine Invasion, U.S. Officials Say,” Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/reported-detention-of-russian-spy-boss-shows-tension-over-stalled-ukraine-invasion-u-s-officials-say-11647687601

Devan Cole, “Zelensky: “I’m ready for negotiations’ with Putin, but if they fail, it could mean ‘a third World War,’” CNN, March 20, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/20/politics/zelensky-putin-ukraine-negotiations-war-cnntv/index.html

Michael R. Gordon and Alex Leary, “Russia, Failing to Achieve Early Victory in Ukraine, Is Seen Shifting to ‘Plan B,’” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-failing-to-achieve-early-victory-in-ukraine-is-seen-shifting-to-plan-b-11647824374

Loveday Morris, Annabelle Timsit, and Jennifer Hassan, “Russia bombs Mariupol art school where 400 people in besieged city were sheltering, Ukrainian officials say,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/mariupol-art-school-civilians-russia/

Liz Sly and Dan Lamothe, “Russia’s war for Ukraine could be headed toward stalemate,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/russia-ukraine-military-offensive/

Nataliya Vasilyeva, “Russians borrow from Nazi playbook with forced deportation of Ukrainian civilians,” Telegraph, March 20, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/terror-and-security/russians-borrow-nazi-playbook-forced-deportation-ukrainian-civilians/

Larisa Brown and Richard Spencer, “Struggling Russians ‘plant mines’ and dig in for a long war,” Times, March 21, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/retroville-mall-a-symbol-of-new-kyiv-is-destroyed-by-cruise-missile-0znsr9zc9

Samantha Lock, Jennifer Rankin, and Julian Borger, “‘Clear sign’ Putin is weighing up use of chemical weapons in Ukraine, says Biden,” Guardian, March 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/22/clear-sign-putin-is-weighing-up-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-ukraine-says-biden

Isaac Chotiner, “The Purges in Putin’s Shrinking Inner Circle,” New Yorker, March 22, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-purges-in-putins-shrinking-inner-circle

Julia Ioffe, “Hacking Through Putin’s Media Cult,” Puck News, March 22, 2022, https://puck.news/hacking-through-putins-media-cult/

Richard Kemp, “The Russian army has run out of time,” Telegraph, March 22, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2022/03/22/russian-army-has-run-time/

Luke McGee and Claire Calzonetti, “Putin spokesman refuses to rule out use of nuclear weapons if Russia faced an ‘existential threat,’” CNN, March 22, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/22/europe/amanpour-peskov-interview-ukraine-intl/index.html

Adela Suliman, David L. Stern, and Steven Mufson, “Forest fires near Russian-held Chernobyl nuclear plant raise radiation fears, Ukraine says,” Washington Post, March 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/22/chernobyl-forest-fire-radiation-ukraine-russia/

Tom Ball, “Ukraine war: Putin ‘at risk of coup’ by Russian security services,” Times, March 23, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-war-putin-at-risk-of-coup-by-russian-security-services-vm6qgxtnp

Nataliya Vasilyeva, “‘Unwell’ Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu disappears from public view,” Telegraph, March 23, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/23/unwell-russian-defence-minister-potential-vladimir-putin-successor/

Alex Gangitano, “Biden has sharp response to reporter: ‘You’re playing a game with me,’ Hill, March 24, 2022, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/599641-biden-has-sharp-response-to-reporter-youre-playing-a-game-with-me

Ashley Parker, Tyler Pager, and Emily Rauhala, “Leaders add sanctions on Russia, warn against chemical weapons,” Washington Post, March 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/24/biden-nato-europe-russia-ukraine-war/

Tarini Parti, Robert Wall, and Catherine Lucey, “Biden Calls for Russia to Be Expelled From G-20,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-meets-allies-in-brussels-seeking-to-end-war-in-ukraine-and-punish-putin-11648112332

Matthew Luxmoore, “Russia Refocuses on Ukraine’s East After Month of Heavy Losses,” Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-refocuses-on-ukraines-east-after-month-of-heavy-losses-11648243627

Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom, “Will Russians Toss Their Leader?” Tyee, March 25, 2022, https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2022/03/25/Will-Russians-Toss-Their-Leader/

Daniel Boffey, “Russia reasserts right to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/26/russia-reasserts-right-to-use-nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine-putin


  1. [1]Daniel Boffey, “Russia reasserts right to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/26/russia-reasserts-right-to-use-nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine-putin
  2. [2]Daniel Boffey, “Russia reasserts right to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/26/russia-reasserts-right-to-use-nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine-putin; Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/; Yuras Karmanau, “Putin puts nuclear forces on high alert, escalating tensions,” Associated Press, February 27, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-business-europe-moscow-2e4e1cf784f22b6afbe5a2f936725550; Tom Nichols, “How Should the U.S. Respond to Putin’s Nuclear Provocation?” Atlantic, February 27, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/how-the-west-should-respond-to-putins-nuclear-provocation/622943/; Jordan Michael Smith, “Would Putin Really Go Nuclear? Well …,” New Republic, March 7, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/165634/putin-nuclear-weapons-ukraine-us-response; Robin Wright, “What Does Putin’s Nuclear Sabre Rattling Mean?” New Yorker, March 1, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/what-does-putins-nuclear-sabre-rattling-mean
  3. [3]Dmitry Medvedev, quoted in Daniel Boffey, “Russia reasserts right to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/26/russia-reasserts-right-to-use-nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine-putin
  4. [4]Anne Applebaum, “The U.S. Is Naive About Russia. Ukraine Can’t Afford to Be,” Atlantic, January 3, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/01/ukraine-russia-kyiv-putin-bluff/621145/; Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s ‘Nightmare’ Threat to Europe,” Puck News, December 6, 2021, https://puck.news/putins-nightmare-threat-to-europe/; Eugene Rumer and Andrew S. Weiss, “Ukraine: Putin’s Unfinished Business,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, November 12, 2021, https://carnegieendowment.org/2021/11/12/ukraine-putin-s-unfinished-business-pub-85771
  5. [5]Ashley Parker, Tyler Pager, and Emily Rauhala, “Leaders add sanctions on Russia, warn against chemical weapons,” Washington Post, March 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/24/biden-nato-europe-russia-ukraine-war/; Tarini Parti, Robert Wall, and Catherine Lucey, “Biden Calls for Russia to Be Expelled From G-20,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-meets-allies-in-brussels-seeking-to-end-war-in-ukraine-and-punish-putin-11648112332
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Nuclear survival,” Not Housebroken, March 22, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/13/nuclear-survival/
  7. [7]Larisa Brown, Charlie Parker, and Richard Spencer, “Ukraine forces ‘counter-attack’ as Russia loses estimated 7,000 troops and 230 tanks,” Times, March 18, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-crisis-world-war-three-may-have-already-started-warns-zelensky-f5fs72vq5; Larisa Brown and Richard Spencer, “Struggling Russians ‘plant mines’ and dig in for a long war,” Times, March 21, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/retroville-mall-a-symbol-of-new-kyiv-is-destroyed-by-cruise-missile-0znsr9zc9; Helene Cooper, Julian E. Barnes, and Eric Schmitt, “As Russian Troop Deaths Climb, Morale Becomes an Issue, Officials Say,” New York Times, March 16, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/16/us/politics/russia-troop-deaths.html; Mark Galeotti, “How does Putin extract himself from this nightmare of his own making?” Times, March 5, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-does-putin-extract-himself-from-this-nightmare-of-his-own-making-v2ktvw08g; Michael R. Gordon and Alex Leary, “Russia, Failing to Achieve Early Victory in Ukraine, Is Seen Shifting to ‘Plan B,’” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-failing-to-achieve-early-victory-in-ukraine-is-seen-shifting-to-plan-b-11647824374; Richard Kemp, “The Russian army has run out of time,” Telegraph, March 22, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2022/03/22/russian-army-has-run-time/; Dan Lamothe, Alex Horton, and Karoun Demirjian, “Ukraine’s military adapts tactics after enduring Russia’s initial invasion,” Washington Post, March 5, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/03/05/ukraine-military-strategy/; Eric Levitz, “Putin’s War Looks Increasingly Insane,” New York, March 4, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/03/putins-war-looks-increasingly-insane.html; Matthew Luxmoore, “Russia Refocuses on Ukraine’s East After Month of Heavy Losses,” Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-refocuses-on-ukraines-east-after-month-of-heavy-losses-11648243627; James Mackenzie, Natalia Zinets, and Oleksandr Kozhukhar, “Russia getting bogged down in Ukraine, Western nations say,” Reuters, March 17, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/shells-hit-theatre-sheltering-ukraine-civilians-biden-calls-putin-war-criminal-2022-03-17/; Justin McCurry, Samantha Lock, and Luke Harding, “Russia targeting cities as strength of Ukraine’s resistance ‘continues to surprise’, UK says,” Guardian, March 6, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/06/biden-and-zelenskiy-discuss-more-aid-for-ukraine-as-russian-attacks-intensify; Ashley Parker et al., “‘No off-ramps’: U.S. and European officials don’t see a clear endgame in Ukraine,” Washington Post, March 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/10/ukraine-end-game/; David Remnick, “The Weakness of the Despot,” New Yorker, March 11, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/stephen-kotkin-putin-russia-ukraine-stalin; Dan Sabbagh, “Is an outright Russian military victory in Ukraine possible?” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/is-an-outright-russian-military-victory-in-ukraine-possible; Liz Sly and Dan Lamothe, “Russia’s war for Ukraine could be headed toward stalemate,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/russia-ukraine-military-offensive/
  8. [8]Robin Wright, “What Does Putin’s Nuclear Sabre Rattling Mean?” New Yorker, March 1, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/what-does-putins-nuclear-sabre-rattling-mean
  9. [9]Daniel Boffey, “Russia reasserts right to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/26/russia-reasserts-right-to-use-nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine-putin; Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/; Yuras Karmanau, “Putin puts nuclear forces on high alert, escalating tensions,” Associated Press, February 27, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-business-europe-moscow-2e4e1cf784f22b6afbe5a2f936725550; Tom Nichols, “How Should the U.S. Respond to Putin’s Nuclear Provocation?” Atlantic, February 27, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/how-the-west-should-respond-to-putins-nuclear-provocation/622943/; Jordan Michael Smith, “Would Putin Really Go Nuclear? Well …,” New Republic, March 7, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/165634/putin-nuclear-weapons-ukraine-us-response; Robin Wright, “What Does Putin’s Nuclear Sabre Rattling Mean?” New Yorker, March 1, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/what-does-putins-nuclear-sabre-rattling-mean
  10. [10]David Benfell, “Where does Vladimir Putin stop?” Not Housebroken, March 26, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/04/where-does-vladimir-putin-stop/

Coup chemistry

I have barely begun to see the first botanical hints of spring here in Pittsburgh: A hue of green on a tree here, red there. The ubiquitous shrubs with yellow flowers are blooming all over the place. There are carnations in my landlord’s front yard, presumably the work of his eternally optimistic wife. Which of course means we’re in for a few more freezes. It looks like the first of those will be this weekend. Nothing serious, but some snow flurries and subfreezing temperatures nonetheless.[1] Most trees, smarter than me, aren’t buying any of it. They’re still in winter mode. Like I said, they’re smarter than me.


Police White supremacist gangs

Alene Tchekmedyian, “Inspector general identifies 41 sheriff’s deputies who allegedly belong to gang-like groups,” Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-03-22/sheriff-deputies-executioners-banditos

Megan Guza, Paula Reed Ward, and Julia Felton, “Officials: 5 Pittsburgh police officers terminated after months-long investigation into death of Jim Rogers,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 23, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-officials-to-announce-results-of-internal-investigation-into-death-of-jim-rogers/

Alene Tchekmedyian, “L.A. County panel launches investigation into Sheriff’s Department ‘deputy gangs,’” Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-03-24/civilian-oversight-commisson-deputy-gangs-investigation


Pacific Gas and Electric

Dale Kasler, “Auditor blasts California regulators who oversee wildfire safety at PG&E, other utilities,” Sacramento Bee, March 24, 2022, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article259727215.html


COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

The Omicron BA.2 subvariant might yet have a surprise for us,[2] but I’m not, yet anyway, seeing anything that looks like it will dissuade us from throwing the immunocompromised under the bus.[3]

The sense I have around Allegheny County is that people don’t care anymore. We’re wearing masks on Uber and Lyft because of a tattletale culture in which, apparently, both riders and drivers will rat on each other even if they themselves aren’t wearing masks. Drivers, I would guess, are doing it to get back at passengers they don’t like. Riders, I’m guessing, are doing it in the hope of a free ride. So it’s damn the torpedoes (or the immunocompromised), full speed ahead.

Complacency is often the harbinger of trouble yet to come. Whether that’s the case with COVID-19 remains to be seen.

Jon Kamp, “Omicron BA.2 Variant Represents Rising Share of U.S. Covid-19 Cases,” Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/omicron-ba-2-variant-represents-rising-share-of-u-s-covid-19-cases-11647979879


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Steve Bannon is raising an interesting question about executive privilege. But if the judge rules against him, he can appeal,[4] which means this is also a stalling tactic, hoping to stall until 2025, when it seems likely Donald Trump will be back in the White House[5] and a pardon from the fealty-demanding president becomes possible.

Hugo Lowell, “Bannon’s escape plan: how the Trump strategist is trying to dodge prison,” Guardian, March 25, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/mar/25/steve-bannon-house-capitol-attack-committee-contempt

Jane Mayer, “Legal Scholars Are Shocked By Ginni Thomas’s ‘Stop the Steal’ Texts,” New Yorker, March 25, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/legal-scholars-are-shocked-by-ginni-thomass-stop-the-steal-texts


Work

On this day in 1911, there was the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.[6] In today’s news, we see that capitalism remains[7] a death cult.[8]

Brian Callaci, “Amazon Warehouses Are Relentless, Dangerous Workplaces—but It’s Hard to Punish Them for It, Thanks to Bill Clinton,” New Republic, March 25, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/165842/amazon-warehouse-washington-ergonomics-regulation-osha-clinton


Ukraine

Amid fears that Russia may deploy chemical weapons against Ukraine,

Mr. [Joe] Biden and others have been careful not to telegraph exactly what the U.S. and allies would do if Mr. Putin used chemical weapons. “The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use,” he said Thursday.

“Strategic ambiguity and discretion are more effective” than red lines, said French President Emmanuel Macron, explaining why he wouldn’t specify what Russian action might trigger a NATO response.[9]

I tend to interpret vague threats as empty threats; however, I can certainly see an argument that Vladimir Putin might well, like any petulant, recalcitrant, unrepentant child, try to push the limits delineated in any clearly defined red lines.

Meanwhile, in a field ripe for rumor-mongering,[10] there’s more talk of a possible coup against Putin as Russian security services are unhappy at the loss of privileges under Western sanctions and as they also take the blame[11] for Putin’s failure in Ukraine.[12] The difficulty really remains that Putin has had well over two decades to purge anyone who might pose such a threat and to install the loyalist incompetent sycophants who now tell him what he wants to hear.[13] Indeed, apart from the reported resentment,[14] there’s simply not a lot of evidence of dissent—Julia Ioffe indeed has argued the contrary—that would produce a change of policy even if Putin were to die or be killed or overthrown.[15]

I can’t rule out a coup. No one can. But while I’m pretty confident I’m not the only one hoping to be wrong about this, what I’m seeing here in these analyses just isn’t promising.

I might also note that there is a single source for this report of dissent. So far, their information has been good.[16] But any good journalist knows to seek confirmation: To my knowledge, we simply ain’t got it.

Meanwhile, those who suspect Joe Biden suffers dementia will surely see a boost here:

“Let’s get something straight … I did not say that in fact the sanctions would deter him [Vladimir Putin],” [Joe] Biden said at a press conference from Brussels, where he is meeting with NATO leaders.

“Sanctions never deter — you keep talking about that — sanctions never deter. The maintenance of sanctions, the maintenance of sanctions, the increasing the pain and the demonstration, why I asked for this NATO meeting today, is to be sure that after a month, we will sustain what we’re doing not just next month, the following month, but for the remainder of this entire year, that’s what will stop him,” the president said, raising his voice.

Asked if he believes NATO’s latest actions on Thursday will lead Russia to change course, Biden said, “That’s not what I said. You’re playing a game with me.”

“The answer’s no,” he added.[17]

So what, one might more than reasonably ask, is the point of the sanctions? Biden seems to think they’re meant to show solidarity among North Atlantic Treaty Organization and European Union countries.[18] As if that will dissuade Putin.

Show me a universe where this makes sense and I’ll show you a universe where cows fly.

Daniel Boffey and Dan Sabbagh, “Vladimir Putin accused of war crimes as school and theatre are hit in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/kyiv-ukraine-says-moscow-russia-must-accept-ceasefire-as-west-doubts-putin-sincerity

Larisa Brown, Charlie Parker, and Richard Spencer, “Ukraine forces ‘counter-attack’ as Russia loses estimated 7,000 troops and 230 tanks,” Times, March 17, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-crisis-world-war-three-may-have-already-started-warns-zelensky-f5fs72vq5

Isabel Coles, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Ukraine Awaits Word of Deaths, Survivors After Russia Hits Theater Turned Bomb Shelter,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-forces-attack-theater-in-southern-ukraine-where-civilians-were-hiding-11647511730

Yuka Hayashi and Eliza Collins, “House Passes Legislation to End Normal Trade Relations With Russia,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/house-passes-legislation-to-end-normal-trade-relations-with-russia-11647545860

James Mackenzie, Natalia Zinets, and Oleksandr Kozhukhar, “Russia getting bogged down in Ukraine, Western nations say,” Reuters, March 17, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/shells-hit-theatre-sheltering-ukraine-civilians-biden-calls-putin-war-criminal-2022-03-17/

Loveday Morris, “In Ukraine’s second city, a furious rain of bombs and rockets takes a toll: ‘There are no coffins left,’” Washington Post, March 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/17/kharkiv-bodies-human-toll/

Rachel Roubein with McKenzie Beard, “Health care is becoming a target in Ukraine,” Washington Post, March 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/17/health-care-is-becoming-target-ukraine/

Dan Sabbagh, “Is an outright Russian military victory in Ukraine possible?” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/is-an-outright-russian-military-victory-in-ukraine-possible

Joshua Goodman, “American gunmakers help Ukrainians fight back against Putin,” Associated Press, March 18, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-american-gunmakers-3c5fa03742ebc5806293a84a0e2b73cd

Justin Ling, “How ‘Ukrainian bioweapons labs’ myth went from QAnon fringe to Fox News,” Guardian, March 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/mar/18/ukrainian-bioweapons-labs-qanon-fox-news

Rebecca Ratcliffe and Abené Clayton, “Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 24 of the invasion,” Guardian, March 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/19/russia-ukraine-war-what-we-know-on-day-24-of-the-invasion

Michael Levenson, Marc Santora, and Valerie Hopkins, “Deadly Strike on Ukraine Barracks Punctuates Russian Military Gains,” New York Times, March 19, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/19/world/europe/mariupol-russia-ukraine-war.html

Warren P. Strobel and Michael R. Gordon, “Reported Detention of Russian Spy Boss Shows Tension Over Stalled Ukraine Invasion, U.S. Officials Say,” Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/reported-detention-of-russian-spy-boss-shows-tension-over-stalled-ukraine-invasion-u-s-officials-say-11647687601

Devan Cole, “Zelensky: “I’m ready for negotiations’ with Putin, but if they fail, it could mean ‘a third World War,’” CNN, March 20, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/20/politics/zelensky-putin-ukraine-negotiations-war-cnntv/index.html

Michael R. Gordon and Alex Leary, “Russia, Failing to Achieve Early Victory in Ukraine, Is Seen Shifting to ‘Plan B,’” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-failing-to-achieve-early-victory-in-ukraine-is-seen-shifting-to-plan-b-11647824374

Loveday Morris, Annabelle Timsit, and Jennifer Hassan, “Russia bombs Mariupol art school where 400 people in besieged city were sheltering, Ukrainian officials say,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/mariupol-art-school-civilians-russia/

Liz Sly and Dan Lamothe, “Russia’s war for Ukraine could be headed toward stalemate,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/russia-ukraine-military-offensive/

Nataliya Vasilyeva, “Russians borrow from Nazi playbook with forced deportation of Ukrainian civilians,” Telegraph, March 20, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/terror-and-security/russians-borrow-nazi-playbook-forced-deportation-ukrainian-civilians/

Larisa Brown and Richard Spencer, “Struggling Russians ‘plant mines’ and dig in for a long war,” Times, March 21, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/retroville-mall-a-symbol-of-new-kyiv-is-destroyed-by-cruise-missile-0znsr9zc9

Samantha Lock, Jennifer Rankin, and Julian Borger, “‘Clear sign’ Putin is weighing up use of chemical weapons in Ukraine, says Biden,” Guardian, March 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/22/clear-sign-putin-is-weighing-up-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-ukraine-says-biden

Isaac Chotiner, “The Purges in Putin’s Shrinking Inner Circle,” New Yorker, March 22, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-purges-in-putins-shrinking-inner-circle

Julia Ioffe, “Hacking Through Putin’s Media Cult,” Puck News, March 22, 2022, https://puck.news/hacking-through-putins-media-cult/

Richard Kemp, “The Russian army has run out of time,” Telegraph, March 22, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2022/03/22/russian-army-has-run-time/

Luke McGee and Claire Calzonetti, “Putin spokesman refuses to rule out use of nuclear weapons if Russia faced an ‘existential threat,’” CNN, March 22, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/22/europe/amanpour-peskov-interview-ukraine-intl/index.html

Adela Suliman, David L. Stern, and Steven Mufson, “Forest fires near Russian-held Chernobyl nuclear plant raise radiation fears, Ukraine says,” Washington Post, March 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/22/chernobyl-forest-fire-radiation-ukraine-russia/

Tom Ball, “Ukraine war: Putin ‘at risk of coup’ by Russian security services,” Times, March 23, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-war-putin-at-risk-of-coup-by-russian-security-services-vm6qgxtnp

Nataliya Vasilyeva, “‘Unwell’ Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu disappears from public view,” Telegraph, March 23, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/23/unwell-russian-defence-minister-potential-vladimir-putin-successor/

Alex Gangitano, “Biden has sharp response to reporter: ‘You’re playing a game with me,’ Hill, March 24, 2022, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/599641-biden-has-sharp-response-to-reporter-youre-playing-a-game-with-me

Ashley Parker, Tyler Pager, and Emily Rauhala, “Leaders add sanctions on Russia, warn against chemical weapons,” Washington Post, March 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/24/biden-nato-europe-russia-ukraine-war/

Tarini Parti, Robert Wall, and Catherine Lucey, “Biden Calls for Russia to Be Expelled From G-20,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-meets-allies-in-brussels-seeking-to-end-war-in-ukraine-and-punish-putin-11648112332

Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom, “Will Russians Toss Their Leader?” Tyee, March 25, 2022, https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2022/03/25/Will-Russians-Toss-Their-Leader/


  1. [1]Paul Guggenheimer, “Cold, snowy weekend in store for Western Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 24, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/regional/cold-snowy-weekend-in-store-for-western-pa/
  2. [2]Jon Kamp, “Omicron BA.2 Variant Represents Rising Share of U.S. Covid-19 Cases,” Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/omicron-ba-2-variant-represents-rising-share-of-u-s-covid-19-cases-11647979879
  3. [3]Ed Yong, “The Millions of People Stuck in Pandemic Limbo,” Atlantic, February 16, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2022/02/covid-pandemic-immunocompromised-risk-vaccines/622094/
  4. [4]Hugo Lowell, “Bannon’s escape plan: how the Trump strategist is trying to dodge prison,” Guardian, March 25, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/mar/25/steve-bannon-house-capitol-attack-committee-contempt
  5. [5]David Benfell, “My 2024 forecast,” Not Housebroken, March 10, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/10/my-2024-forecast/
  6. [6]William G. Shepherd, “Witness watches helplessly as fire victims leap to their death,” March 25, 1911, https://www.upi.com/Archives/1911/03/25/Witness-watches-helplessly-as-fire-victims-leap-to-their-death/1995804111743/
  7. [7]Brian Callaci, “Amazon Warehouses Are Relentless, Dangerous Workplaces—but It’s Hard to Punish Them for It, Thanks to Bill Clinton,” New Republic, March 25, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/165842/amazon-warehouse-washington-ergonomics-regulation-osha-clinton
  8. [8]David Benfell, “The capitalist death cult,” Not Housebroken, January 11, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/03/27/the-capitalist-death-cult/
  9. [9]Tarini Parti, Robert Wall, and Catherine Lucey, “Biden Calls for Russia to Be Expelled From G-20,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-meets-allies-in-brussels-seeking-to-end-war-in-ukraine-and-punish-putin-11648112332
  10. [10]Nataliya Vasilyeva, “‘Unwell’ Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu disappears from public view,” Telegraph, March 23, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/23/unwell-russian-defence-minister-potential-vladimir-putin-successor/
  11. [11]Tom Ball, “Ukraine war: Putin ‘at risk of coup’ by Russian security services,” Times, March 23, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-war-putin-at-risk-of-coup-by-russian-security-services-vm6qgxtnp; Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom, “Will Russians Toss Their Leader?” Tyee, March 25, 2022, https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2022/03/25/Will-Russians-Toss-Their-Leader/
  12. [12]Larisa Brown, Charlie Parker, and Richard Spencer, “Ukraine forces ‘counter-attack’ as Russia loses estimated 7,000 troops and 230 tanks,” Times, March 18, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-crisis-world-war-three-may-have-already-started-warns-zelensky-f5fs72vq5; Larisa Brown and Richard Spencer, “Struggling Russians ‘plant mines’ and dig in for a long war,” Times, March 21, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/retroville-mall-a-symbol-of-new-kyiv-is-destroyed-by-cruise-missile-0znsr9zc9; Helene Cooper, Julian E. Barnes, and Eric Schmitt, “As Russian Troop Deaths Climb, Morale Becomes an Issue, Officials Say,” New York Times, March 16, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/16/us/politics/russia-troop-deaths.html; Mark Galeotti, “How does Putin extract himself from this nightmare of his own making?” Times, March 5, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-does-putin-extract-himself-from-this-nightmare-of-his-own-making-v2ktvw08g; Michael R. Gordon and Alex Leary, “Russia, Failing to Achieve Early Victory in Ukraine, Is Seen Shifting to ‘Plan B,’” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-failing-to-achieve-early-victory-in-ukraine-is-seen-shifting-to-plan-b-11647824374; Richard Kemp, “The Russian army has run out of time,” Telegraph, March 22, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2022/03/22/russian-army-has-run-time/; Dan Lamothe, Alex Horton, and Karoun Demirjian, “Ukraine’s military adapts tactics after enduring Russia’s initial invasion,” Washington Post, March 5, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/03/05/ukraine-military-strategy/; Eric Levitz, “Putin’s War Looks Increasingly Insane,” New York, March 4, 2022, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/03/putins-war-looks-increasingly-insane.html; James Mackenzie, Natalia Zinets, and Oleksandr Kozhukhar, “Russia getting bogged down in Ukraine, Western nations say,” Reuters, March 17, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/shells-hit-theatre-sheltering-ukraine-civilians-biden-calls-putin-war-criminal-2022-03-17/; Justin McCurry, Samantha Lock, and Luke Harding, “Russia targeting cities as strength of Ukraine’s resistance ‘continues to surprise’, UK says,” Guardian, March 6, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/06/biden-and-zelenskiy-discuss-more-aid-for-ukraine-as-russian-attacks-intensify; Ashley Parker et al., “‘No off-ramps’: U.S. and European officials don’t see a clear endgame in Ukraine,” Washington Post, March 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/10/ukraine-end-game/; David Remnick, “The Weakness of the Despot,” New Yorker, March 11, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/stephen-kotkin-putin-russia-ukraine-stalin; Dan Sabbagh, “Is an outright Russian military victory in Ukraine possible?” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/is-an-outright-russian-military-victory-in-ukraine-possible; Liz Sly and Dan Lamothe, “Russia’s war for Ukraine could be headed toward stalemate,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/russia-ukraine-military-offensive/
  13. [13]Isaac Chotiner, “The Purges in Putin’s Shrinking Inner Circle,” New Yorker, March 22, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-purges-in-putins-shrinking-inner-circle; Mark Galeotti, “How does Putin extract himself from this nightmare of his own making?” Times, March 5, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-does-putin-extract-himself-from-this-nightmare-of-his-own-making-v2ktvw08g; David Remnick, “The Weakness of the Despot,” New Yorker, March 11, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/stephen-kotkin-putin-russia-ukraine-stalin
  14. [14]Tom Ball, “Ukraine war: Putin ‘at risk of coup’ by Russian security services,” Times, March 23, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-war-putin-at-risk-of-coup-by-russian-security-services-vm6qgxtnp
  15. [15]Julia Ioffe, “The Death of Putin,” Puck News, March 8, 2022, https://puck.news/the-death-of-putin/
  16. [16]Tom Ball, “Ukraine war: Putin ‘at risk of coup’ by Russian security services,” Times, March 23, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-war-putin-at-risk-of-coup-by-russian-security-services-vm6qgxtnp
  17. [17]Alex Gangitano, “Biden has sharp response to reporter: ‘You’re playing a game with me,’ Hill, March 24, 2022, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/599641-biden-has-sharp-response-to-reporter-youre-playing-a-game-with-me
  18. [18]Alex Gangitano, “Biden has sharp response to reporter: ‘You’re playing a game with me,’ Hill, March 24, 2022, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/599641-biden-has-sharp-response-to-reporter-youre-playing-a-game-with-me

New York City taxi drivers can now be exploited simultaneously by their companies and by Uber

‘Rideshare’ driving

Preetika Rana, “Uber Reaches Deal to List All New York City Taxis on Its App,” Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-reaches-deal-to-list-all-new-york-city-taxis-on-its-app-11648123201


Abortion

Keith Ridler, “Idaho governor signs abortion ban modeled on Texas law,” Washington Post, March 23, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/idaho-governor-signs-abortion-ban-modeled-on-texas-law/2022/03/23/e163c392-aadf-11ec-8a8e-9c6e9fc7a0de_story.html


Donald Trump

Finances

Remember this fellow? You know, our likely president in 2025?[1] It’s still really not clear what’s going on with the criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s representations of his finances, but a decision not to bring charges still has people, including prosecutors, thinking it’s over.[2]

Corinne Ramey and Deanna Paul, “Ex-Manhattan Prosecutor Who Resigned Said He Believed Trump Committed Numerous Felonies,” Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ex-manhattan-prosecutor-who-resigned-said-he-believed-trump-committed-numerous-felonies-11648087035


Ukraine

Daniel Boffey and Dan Sabbagh, “Vladimir Putin accused of war crimes as school and theatre are hit in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/kyiv-ukraine-says-moscow-russia-must-accept-ceasefire-as-west-doubts-putin-sincerity

Larisa Brown, Charlie Parker, and Richard Spencer, “Ukraine forces ‘counter-attack’ as Russia loses estimated 7,000 troops and 230 tanks,” Times, March 17, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-crisis-world-war-three-may-have-already-started-warns-zelensky-f5fs72vq5

Isabel Coles, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Ukraine Awaits Word of Deaths, Survivors After Russia Hits Theater Turned Bomb Shelter,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-forces-attack-theater-in-southern-ukraine-where-civilians-were-hiding-11647511730

Yuka Hayashi and Eliza Collins, “House Passes Legislation to End Normal Trade Relations With Russia,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/house-passes-legislation-to-end-normal-trade-relations-with-russia-11647545860

James Mackenzie, Natalia Zinets, and Oleksandr Kozhukhar, “Russia getting bogged down in Ukraine, Western nations say,” Reuters, March 17, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/shells-hit-theatre-sheltering-ukraine-civilians-biden-calls-putin-war-criminal-2022-03-17/

Loveday Morris, “In Ukraine’s second city, a furious rain of bombs and rockets takes a toll: ‘There are no coffins left,’” Washington Post, March 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/17/kharkiv-bodies-human-toll/

Rachel Roubein with McKenzie Beard, “Health care is becoming a target in Ukraine,” Washington Post, March 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/17/health-care-is-becoming-target-ukraine/

Dan Sabbagh, “Is an outright Russian military victory in Ukraine possible?” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/is-an-outright-russian-military-victory-in-ukraine-possible

Joshua Goodman, “American gunmakers help Ukrainians fight back against Putin,” Associated Press, March 18, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-american-gunmakers-3c5fa03742ebc5806293a84a0e2b73cd

Justin Ling, “How ‘Ukrainian bioweapons labs’ myth went from QAnon fringe to Fox News,” Guardian, March 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/mar/18/ukrainian-bioweapons-labs-qanon-fox-news

Rebecca Ratcliffe and Abené Clayton, “Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 24 of the invasion,” Guardian, March 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/19/russia-ukraine-war-what-we-know-on-day-24-of-the-invasion

Michael Levenson, Marc Santora, and Valerie Hopkins, “Deadly Strike on Ukraine Barracks Punctuates Russian Military Gains,” New York Times, March 19, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/19/world/europe/mariupol-russia-ukraine-war.html

Warren P. Strobel and Michael R. Gordon, “Reported Detention of Russian Spy Boss Shows Tension Over Stalled Ukraine Invasion, U.S. Officials Say,” Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/reported-detention-of-russian-spy-boss-shows-tension-over-stalled-ukraine-invasion-u-s-officials-say-11647687601

Devan Cole, “Zelensky: “I’m ready for negotiations’ with Putin, but if they fail, it could mean ‘a third World War,’” CNN, March 20, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/20/politics/zelensky-putin-ukraine-negotiations-war-cnntv/index.html

Michael R. Gordon and Alex Leary, “Russia, Failing to Achieve Early Victory in Ukraine, Is Seen Shifting to ‘Plan B,’” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-failing-to-achieve-early-victory-in-ukraine-is-seen-shifting-to-plan-b-11647824374

Loveday Morris, Annabelle Timsit, and Jennifer Hassan, “Russia bombs Mariupol art school where 400 people in besieged city were sheltering, Ukrainian officials say,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/mariupol-art-school-civilians-russia/

Liz Sly and Dan Lamothe, “Russia’s war for Ukraine could be headed toward stalemate,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/russia-ukraine-military-offensive/

Nataliya Vasilyeva, “Russians borrow from Nazi playbook with forced deportation of Ukrainian civilians,” Telegraph, March 20, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/terror-and-security/russians-borrow-nazi-playbook-forced-deportation-ukrainian-civilians/

Larisa Brown and Richard Spencer, “Struggling Russians ‘plant mines’ and dig in for a long war,” Times, March 21, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/retroville-mall-a-symbol-of-new-kyiv-is-destroyed-by-cruise-missile-0znsr9zc9

Samantha Lock, Jennifer Rankin, and Julian Borger, “‘Clear sign’ Putin is weighing up use of chemical weapons in Ukraine, says Biden,” Guardian, March 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/22/clear-sign-putin-is-weighing-up-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-ukraine-says-biden

Isaac Chotiner, “The Purges in Putin’s Shrinking Inner Circle,” New Yorker, March 22, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-purges-in-putins-shrinking-inner-circle

Julia Ioffe, “Hacking Through Putin’s Media Cult,” Puck News, March 22, 2022, https://puck.news/hacking-through-putins-media-cult/

Luke McGee and Claire Calzonetti, “Putin spokesman refuses to rule out use of nuclear weapons if Russia faced an ‘existential threat,’” CNN, March 22, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/22/europe/amanpour-peskov-interview-ukraine-intl/index.html

Adela Suliman, David L. Stern, and Steven Mufson, “Forest fires near Russian-held Chernobyl nuclear plant raise radiation fears, Ukraine says,” Washington Post, March 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/22/chernobyl-forest-fire-radiation-ukraine-russia/

Tom Ball, “Ukraine war: Putin ‘at risk of coup’ by Russian security services,” Times, March 23, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-war-putin-at-risk-of-coup-by-russian-security-services-vm6qgxtnp


  1. [1]David Benfell, “My 2024 forecast,” Not Housebroken, March 10, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/10/my-2024-forecast/
  2. [2]Jane Mayer, “Why Does New York’s Criminal Investigation of Donald Trump Appear All But Over?” New Yorker, February 24, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/why-does-new-yorks-criminal-investigation-of-donald-trump-appear-all-but-over; Corinne Ramey and Deanna Paul, “Two Prosecutors in New York Investigation of Donald Trump Resign,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/two-prosecutors-in-new-york-investigation-of-donald-trump-resign-11645650257; Corinne Ramey and Deanna Paul, “Ex-Manhattan Prosecutor Who Resigned Said He Believed Trump Committed Numerous Felonies,” Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ex-manhattan-prosecutor-who-resigned-said-he-believed-trump-committed-numerous-felonies-11648087035

Madeleine Albright, rest in piss

Right-wing dictatorship project

Associated Press, “Voting machine maker wins appeal in GOP election inquiry,” March 21, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/2022-midterm-elections-elections-pennsylvania-voting-donald-trump-7efa43f8671b3983154f57cc4fea8942

Andy Paulsen, “Supreme Court Throws Out Ruling; Allows Voting Machine Maker to Intervene,” WESB, March 22, 2022, https://wesb.com/2022/03/22/supreme-court-throws-out-ruling-allows-voting-machine-maker-to-intervene/


Police White supremacist gangs

Alene Tchekmedyian, “Inspector general identifies 41 sheriff’s deputies who allegedly belong to gang-like groups,” Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-03-22/sheriff-deputies-executioners-banditos

Megan Guza, Paula Reed Ward, and Julia Felton, “Officials: 5 Pittsburgh police officers terminated after months-long investigation into death of Jim Rogers,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 23, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-officials-to-announce-results-of-internal-investigation-into-death-of-jim-rogers/


Madeleine Albright

Of sanctions against Iraq (preceding George W. Bush’s invasion of the country) that killed children, Madeleine Albright infamously said, “This is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it.”[1] She regretted that remark later,[2] but the fact remains that she said it.

Albright also participated in a supposedly feminist exoneration of Bill Clinton for, um, taking advantage of Monica Lewinsky.[3]

Now, she’s dead,[4] and we aren’t hearing about all that now, but is the lesson of her life that, in order to advance, women must be every bit as psychopathic as men?

John Otis, “Madeleine Albright, first female secretary of state, dies at 84,” Washington Post, March 23, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/madeline-albright-dead-/2022/03/23/e527816e-8cf5-11e3-95dd-36ff657a4dae_story.html


Ukraine

Helene Cooper, Julian E. Barnes, and Eric Schmitt, “As Russian Troop Deaths Climb, Morale Becomes an Issue, Officials Say,” New York Times, March 16, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/16/us/politics/russia-troop-deaths.html

James Crisp, “Russia and Ukraine ‘draw up 15-point peace plan,’” Telegraph, March 16, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/16/ukraine-could-become-neutral-state-like-austria-moscow-kyiv/

Julia Ioffe, “Inside Biden’s Ukraine War Room,” Puck News, March 16, 2022, https://puck.news/inside-bidens-ukraine-war-room/

Molly Jong-Fast, “The Far Right Is Now Anti–anti-Putin,” Atlantic, March 16, 2022, https://newsletters.theatlantic.com/wait-what/62323220199fdd002140baa5/gop-tucker-carlson-putin-propaganda/

Rick Noack, “U.N. court orders Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine, in a largely symbolic ruling,” Washington Post, March 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/16/icj-ukraine-russia-genocide/

Grace Segers, “‘There Was Barely a Breath’: How Capitol Hill Reacted to Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s Plea for Help,” New Republic, March 16, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/165759/volodymyr-zelenskiy-congress-reaction-ukraine

Daniel Boffey and Dan Sabbagh, “Vladimir Putin accused of war crimes as school and theatre are hit in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/kyiv-ukraine-says-moscow-russia-must-accept-ceasefire-as-west-doubts-putin-sincerity

Larisa Brown, Charlie Parker, and Richard Spencer, “Ukraine forces ‘counter-attack’ as Russia loses estimated 7,000 troops and 230 tanks,” Times, March 17, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-crisis-world-war-three-may-have-already-started-warns-zelensky-f5fs72vq5

Isabel Coles, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Ukraine Awaits Word of Deaths, Survivors After Russia Hits Theater Turned Bomb Shelter,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-forces-attack-theater-in-southern-ukraine-where-civilians-were-hiding-11647511730

Yuka Hayashi and Eliza Collins, “House Passes Legislation to End Normal Trade Relations With Russia,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/house-passes-legislation-to-end-normal-trade-relations-with-russia-11647545860

James Mackenzie, Natalia Zinets, and Oleksandr Kozhukhar, “Russia getting bogged down in Ukraine, Western nations say,” Reuters, March 17, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/shells-hit-theatre-sheltering-ukraine-civilians-biden-calls-putin-war-criminal-2022-03-17/

Loveday Morris, “In Ukraine’s second city, a furious rain of bombs and rockets takes a toll: ‘There are no coffins left,’” Washington Post, March 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/17/kharkiv-bodies-human-toll/

Rachel Roubein with McKenzie Beard, “Health care is becoming a target in Ukraine,” Washington Post, March 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/17/health-care-is-becoming-target-ukraine/

Dan Sabbagh, “Is an outright Russian military victory in Ukraine possible?” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/is-an-outright-russian-military-victory-in-ukraine-possible

Joshua Goodman, “American gunmakers help Ukrainians fight back against Putin,” Associated Press, March 18, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-american-gunmakers-3c5fa03742ebc5806293a84a0e2b73cd

Justin Ling, “How ‘Ukrainian bioweapons labs’ myth went from QAnon fringe to Fox News,” Guardian, March 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/mar/18/ukrainian-bioweapons-labs-qanon-fox-news

Rebecca Ratcliffe and Abené Clayton, “Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 24 of the invasion,” Guardian, March 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/19/russia-ukraine-war-what-we-know-on-day-24-of-the-invasion

Michael Levenson, Marc Santora, and Valerie Hopkins, “Deadly Strike on Ukraine Barracks Punctuates Russian Military Gains,” New York Times, March 19, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/19/world/europe/mariupol-russia-ukraine-war.html

Warren P. Strobel and Michael R. Gordon, “Reported Detention of Russian Spy Boss Shows Tension Over Stalled Ukraine Invasion, U.S. Officials Say,” Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/reported-detention-of-russian-spy-boss-shows-tension-over-stalled-ukraine-invasion-u-s-officials-say-11647687601

Devan Cole, “Zelensky: “I’m ready for negotiations’ with Putin, but if they fail, it could mean ‘a third World War,’” CNN, March 20, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/20/politics/zelensky-putin-ukraine-negotiations-war-cnntv/index.html

Michael R. Gordon and Alex Leary, “Russia, Failing to Achieve Early Victory in Ukraine, Is Seen Shifting to ‘Plan B,’” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-failing-to-achieve-early-victory-in-ukraine-is-seen-shifting-to-plan-b-11647824374

Loveday Morris, Annabelle Timsit, and Jennifer Hassan, “Russia bombs Mariupol art school where 400 people in besieged city were sheltering, Ukrainian officials say,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/mariupol-art-school-civilians-russia/

Liz Sly and Dan Lamothe, “Russia’s war for Ukraine could be headed toward stalemate,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/russia-ukraine-military-offensive/

Nataliya Vasilyeva, “Russians borrow from Nazi playbook with forced deportation of Ukrainian civilians,” Telegraph, March 20, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/terror-and-security/russians-borrow-nazi-playbook-forced-deportation-ukrainian-civilians/

Larisa Brown and Richard Spencer, “Struggling Russians ‘plant mines’ and dig in for a long war,” Times, March 21, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/retroville-mall-a-symbol-of-new-kyiv-is-destroyed-by-cruise-missile-0znsr9zc9

Samantha Lock, Jennifer Rankin, and Julian Borger, “‘Clear sign’ Putin is weighing up use of chemical weapons in Ukraine, says Biden,” Guardian, March 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/22/clear-sign-putin-is-weighing-up-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-ukraine-says-biden

Isaac Chotiner, “The Purges in Putin’s Shrinking Inner Circle,” New Yorker, March 22, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-purges-in-putins-shrinking-inner-circle

Julia Ioffe, “Hacking Through Putin’s Media Cult,” Puck News, March 22, 2022, https://puck.news/hacking-through-putins-media-cult/

Luke McGee and Claire Calzonetti, “Putin spokesman refuses to rule out use of nuclear weapons if Russia faced an ‘existential threat,’” CNN, March 22, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/22/europe/amanpour-peskov-interview-ukraine-intl/index.html

Adela Suliman, David L. Stern, and Steven Mufson, “Forest fires near Russian-held Chernobyl nuclear plant raise radiation fears, Ukraine says,” Washington Post, March 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/22/chernobyl-forest-fire-radiation-ukraine-russia/

  1. [1]Madeleine Albright, quoted in David Rieff, “Were Sanctions Right?” New York Times, July 27, 2003, https://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/27/magazine/were-sanctions-right.html
  2. [2]David Rieff, “Were Sanctions Right?” New York Times, July 27, 2003, https://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/27/magazine/were-sanctions-right.html
  3. [3]Maureen Dowd, “When Hillary Clinton Killed Feminism,” New York Times, February 13, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/14/opinion/sunday/when-hillary-clinton-killed-feminism.html
  4. [4]John Otis, “Madeleine Albright, first female secretary of state, dies at 84,” Washington Post, March 23, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/madeline-albright-dead-/2022/03/23/e527816e-8cf5-11e3-95dd-36ff657a4dae_story.html

Surprise, surprise! White supremacist gangsters really are white supremacist gangsters!

Police White supremacist gangs

Alene Tchekmedyian, “Inspector general identifies 41 sheriff’s deputies who allegedly belong to gang-like groups,” Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-03-22/sheriff-deputies-executioners-banditos


Ukraine

There is a new blog post entitled, “Appeasement in defense of the appalling.”

The huge question raised in Christiane Amanpour’s interview with Dmitry Peskov, reported by Luke McGee and Claire Calzonetti, is whether Vladimir Putin regards the setbacks his invasion forces have faced in Ukraine as an existential threat, in Peskov’s light, rationalizing the use of nuclear weapons.[1] I think the answer, given that all talk of nuclear weapons has originated on the Russian side and in the context of Ukraine,[2] has to be ‘yes:’

Dmitry Kiselyev, a longtime Kremlin propagandist who is known as one of the most sulfurous personalities on Russian television, opened his state television program on Sunday with a rundown of Russia’s nuclear arsenal. “In total our submarines are capable of launching over five hundred nuclear warheads, which are guaranteed to destroy the U.S. and all the countries of NATO to boot,” he said. “That’s according to the principle, ‘Why do we need a world if Russia’s not in it?’ ” He went on, “We’re not even going to talk about the strategic rocket forces. . . .Putin warned them. Don’t try to frighten Russia.”[3]

Isaac Chotiner’s interview with Andrei Soldatov[4] is the second I’ve seen in which the subject doubts that Vladimir Putin is indeed a madman.[5] But Soldatov also points to 1) Putin’s seemingly psychopathic reaction when questioned about deaths he is responsible for; 2) Putin’s increasingly small circle of people he trusts, suggesting paranoia; 3) a hierarchy of power in which underlings are afraid to report truthfully to their superiors; and 4) Putin’s apparent conviction that he knows better than anyone else,[6] something also observed by Stephen Kotkin in David Remnick’s interview.[7] I’m not a psychologist but neither are these otherwise extremely well-informed folks affirming Putin’s sanity, and I think there are definitely questions here to be asked of a psychologist.

Read the interviews anyway; both are extremely insightful. And yes, I think it’s quite obvious that Putin is stark raving mad; indeed, anyone who threatens nuclear war ought to be regarded as such.[8]

Speaking of interviews, Julia Ioffe interviews a Russian kid, now out of the country, battling Putin’s propaganda. His mother has blocked him, promised to report him for “fake news,” and refuses any communication.[9]

Ashley Parker et al., “U.S. warns China not to assist Russia,” Washington Post, March 15, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/14/us-china-ukraine/

Yaroslav Trofimov and James Marson, “Russian Forces Kill Civilians, Loot for Supplies in Occupied Ukraine, Residents Say,” Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-forces-kill-civilians-loot-for-supplies-in-occupied-ukraine-residents-say-11647267560

Jon Allsop, “The biases in coverage of the war in Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, March 15, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/media_bias_ukraine_war.php

Associated Press, “China Says it’s ‘Impartial’ on Ukraine, Denies Aiding Russia,” Military.com, March 15, 2022, https://www.military.com/daily-news/2022/03/15/china-says-its-impartial-ukraine-denies-aiding-russia.html

Isobel Koshiw, Jon Henley, and Julian Borger, “Ukraine will not join Nato, says Zelenskiy, as shelling of Kyiv continues,” Guardian, March 15, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/15/kyiv-facing-dangerous-moment-amid-signs-of-russias-tightening-grip

Poppie Platt et al., “Volodymyr Zelensky says talks with Russia were ‘pretty good’ as Ukraine pushes for ‘a fair peace,’” Telegraph, March 15, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/14/russia-ukraine-war-latest-news-putin-refugees-zelensky/

Helene Cooper, Julian E. Barnes, and Eric Schmitt, “As Russian Troop Deaths Climb, Morale Becomes an Issue, Officials Say,” New York Times, March 16, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/16/us/politics/russia-troop-deaths.html

James Crisp, “Russia and Ukraine ‘draw up 15-point peace plan,’” Telegraph, March 16, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/16/ukraine-could-become-neutral-state-like-austria-moscow-kyiv/

Julia Ioffe, “Inside Biden’s Ukraine War Room,” Puck News, March 16, 2022, https://puck.news/inside-bidens-ukraine-war-room/

Molly Jong-Fast, “The Far Right Is Now Anti–anti-Putin,” Atlantic, March 16, 2022, https://newsletters.theatlantic.com/wait-what/62323220199fdd002140baa5/gop-tucker-carlson-putin-propaganda/

Rick Noack, “U.N. court orders Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine, in a largely symbolic ruling,” Washington Post, March 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/16/icj-ukraine-russia-genocide/

Grace Segers, “‘There Was Barely a Breath’: How Capitol Hill Reacted to Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s Plea for Help,” New Republic, March 16, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/165759/volodymyr-zelenskiy-congress-reaction-ukraine

Daniel Boffey and Dan Sabbagh, “Vladimir Putin accused of war crimes as school and theatre are hit in Ukraine,” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/kyiv-ukraine-says-moscow-russia-must-accept-ceasefire-as-west-doubts-putin-sincerity

Larisa Brown, Charlie Parker, and Richard Spencer, “Ukraine forces ‘counter-attack’ as Russia loses estimated 7,000 troops and 230 tanks,” Times, March 17, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ukraine-crisis-world-war-three-may-have-already-started-warns-zelensky-f5fs72vq5

Isabel Coles, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Ukraine Awaits Word of Deaths, Survivors After Russia Hits Theater Turned Bomb Shelter,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-forces-attack-theater-in-southern-ukraine-where-civilians-were-hiding-11647511730

Yuka Hayashi and Eliza Collins, “House Passes Legislation to End Normal Trade Relations With Russia,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/house-passes-legislation-to-end-normal-trade-relations-with-russia-11647545860

James Mackenzie, Natalia Zinets, and Oleksandr Kozhukhar, “Russia getting bogged down in Ukraine, Western nations say,” Reuters, March 17, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/shells-hit-theatre-sheltering-ukraine-civilians-biden-calls-putin-war-criminal-2022-03-17/

Loveday Morris, “In Ukraine’s second city, a furious rain of bombs and rockets takes a toll: ‘There are no coffins left,’” Washington Post, March 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/17/kharkiv-bodies-human-toll/

Rachel Roubein with McKenzie Beard, “Health care is becoming a target in Ukraine,” Washington Post, March 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/17/health-care-is-becoming-target-ukraine/

Dan Sabbagh, “Is an outright Russian military victory in Ukraine possible?” Guardian, March 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/17/is-an-outright-russian-military-victory-in-ukraine-possible

Joshua Goodman, “American gunmakers help Ukrainians fight back against Putin,” Associated Press, March 18, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-american-gunmakers-3c5fa03742ebc5806293a84a0e2b73cd

Justin Ling, “How ‘Ukrainian bioweapons labs’ myth went from QAnon fringe to Fox News,” Guardian, March 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/mar/18/ukrainian-bioweapons-labs-qanon-fox-news

Rebecca Ratcliffe and Abené Clayton, “Russia-Ukraine war: what we know on day 24 of the invasion,” Guardian, March 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/19/russia-ukraine-war-what-we-know-on-day-24-of-the-invasion

Michael Levenson, Marc Santora, and Valerie Hopkins, “Deadly Strike on Ukraine Barracks Punctuates Russian Military Gains,” New York Times, March 19, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/19/world/europe/mariupol-russia-ukraine-war.html

Warren P. Strobel and Michael R. Gordon, “Reported Detention of Russian Spy Boss Shows Tension Over Stalled Ukraine Invasion, U.S. Officials Say,” Wall Street Journal, March 19, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/reported-detention-of-russian-spy-boss-shows-tension-over-stalled-ukraine-invasion-u-s-officials-say-11647687601

Devan Cole, “Zelensky: “I’m ready for negotiations’ with Putin, but if they fail, it could mean ‘a third World War,’” CNN, March 20, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/20/politics/zelensky-putin-ukraine-negotiations-war-cnntv/index.html

Michael R. Gordon and Alex Leary, “Russia, Failing to Achieve Early Victory in Ukraine, Is Seen Shifting to ‘Plan B,’” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-failing-to-achieve-early-victory-in-ukraine-is-seen-shifting-to-plan-b-11647824374

Loveday Morris, Annabelle Timsit, and Jennifer Hassan, “Russia bombs Mariupol art school where 400 people in besieged city were sheltering, Ukrainian officials say,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/mariupol-art-school-civilians-russia/

Liz Sly and Dan Lamothe, “Russia’s war for Ukraine could be headed toward stalemate,” Washington Post, March 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/20/russia-ukraine-military-offensive/

Nataliya Vasilyeva, “Russians borrow from Nazi playbook with forced deportation of Ukrainian civilians,” Telegraph, March 20, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/terror-and-security/russians-borrow-nazi-playbook-forced-deportation-ukrainian-civilians/

Larisa Brown and Richard Spencer, “Struggling Russians ‘plant mines’ and dig in for a long war,” Times, March 21, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/retroville-mall-a-symbol-of-new-kyiv-is-destroyed-by-cruise-missile-0znsr9zc9

Samantha Lock, Jennifer Rankin, and Julian Borger, “‘Clear sign’ Putin is weighing up use of chemical weapons in Ukraine, says Biden,” Guardian, March 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/22/clear-sign-putin-is-weighing-up-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-ukraine-says-biden

Isaac Chotiner, “The Purges in Putin’s Shrinking Inner Circle,” New Yorker, March 22, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-purges-in-putins-shrinking-inner-circle

Julia Ioffe, “Hacking Through Putin’s Media Cult,” Puck News, March 22, 2022, https://puck.news/hacking-through-putins-media-cult/

Luke McGee and Claire Calzonetti, “Putin spokesman refuses to rule out use of nuclear weapons if Russia faced an ‘existential threat,’” CNN, March 22, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/22/europe/amanpour-peskov-interview-ukraine-intl/index.html

  1. [1]Luke McGee and Claire Calzonetti, “Putin spokesman refuses to rule out use of nuclear weapons if Russia faced an ‘existential threat,’” CNN, March 22, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/22/europe/amanpour-peskov-interview-ukraine-intl/index.html
  2. [2]Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s New Iron Curtain,” Puck News, February 24, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-new-iron-curtain/; Yuras Karmanau, “Putin puts nuclear forces on high alert, escalating tensions,” Associated Press, February 27, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-business-europe-moscow-2e4e1cf784f22b6afbe5a2f936725550; Tom Nichols, “How Should the U.S. Respond to Putin’s Nuclear Provocation?” Atlantic, February 27, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/how-the-west-should-respond-to-putins-nuclear-provocation/622943/; Jordan Michael Smith, “Would Putin Really Go Nuclear? Well …,” New Republic, March 7, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/165634/putin-nuclear-weapons-ukraine-us-response; Robin Wright, “What Does Putin’s Nuclear Sabre Rattling Mean?” New Yorker, March 1, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/what-does-putins-nuclear-sabre-rattling-mean
  3. [3]Robin Wright, “What Does Putin’s Nuclear Sabre Rattling Mean?” New Yorker, March 1, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/what-does-putins-nuclear-sabre-rattling-mean
  4. [4]Isaac Chotiner, “The Purges in Putin’s Shrinking Inner Circle,” New Yorker, March 22, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-purges-in-putins-shrinking-inner-circle
  5. [5]Isaac Chotiner, “The Purges in Putin’s Shrinking Inner Circle,” New Yorker, March 22, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-purges-in-putins-shrinking-inner-circle; David Remnick, “The Weakness of the Despot,” New Yorker, March 11, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/stephen-kotkin-putin-russia-ukraine-stalin
  6. [6]Isaac Chotiner, “The Purges in Putin’s Shrinking Inner Circle,” New Yorker, March 22, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/the-purges-in-putins-shrinking-inner-circle
  7. [7]David Remnick, “The Weakness of the Despot,” New Yorker, March 11, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/stephen-kotkin-putin-russia-ukraine-stalin
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Vladimir Putin is a fool,” Not Housebroken, March 2, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/01/24/vladimir-putin-is-a-fool/
  9. [9]Julia Ioffe, “Hacking Through Putin’s Media Cult,” Puck News, March 22, 2022, https://puck.news/hacking-through-putins-media-cult/