How, in fact, do we get to ‘justice for all?’


Benje Williams writes of an experience being stopped by a police officer white supremacist gangster while riding his bicycle in Auburn, California, a medium-sized town in the Sierra Nevada foothills along Interstate 80. When I say there’s a lot going on here, and that it’s not just about race, I really do mean there’s a lot going on here. First, let’s get the point on which the white supremacist gangster happens to be right out of the way. Williams had run a stop sign on a deserted road: Read more

Appeasement in defense of the appalling

Past performance, as those financial advertisements reliably claim, does not indicate future results, but the Biden administration’s record on prognosticating what Russia may do in Ukraine has, very unfortunately, been pretty good. A little over a month ago, Julia Ioffe noted that

Over the last few weeks, the Biden administration has made a number of intelligence disclosures, aiming to preempt, expose, or disrupt various Russian plans. By Friday [February 18], it was clear that almost all of them have checked out.[1]

Read more

  1. [1]Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s Quasi War Begins,” Puck News, February 18, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-quasi-war-begins/

Our complicity with Vladimir Putin

See update for March 19, 2022, at end of post.


I have been infuriated by much of what I have seen on Twitter about Russia’s increasingly brutal invasion of Ukraine.[1] A common formulation claims not to excuse Vladimir Putin or Russia but to somehow show that the U.S. or North Atlantic Treaty Organization are at fault; I have already refuted this,[2] and have been blocking people who post such garbage and unfollowing people who retweet it, with the result that my Twitter feed is increasingly dominated by cat pictures with very little remaining of the sort of comment I once found interesting. Read more

  1. [1]David Benfell, “Where does Vladimir Putin stop?” Not Housebroken, March 18, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/04/where-does-vladimir-putin-stop/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Poor Ukraine, so far from God and so close to Russia,” Not Housebroken, January 1, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/01/01/poor-ukraine-so-far-from-god-and-so-close-to-russia/; David Benfell, “The desperate attempt to blame anybody else for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” Not Housebroken, March 3, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/03/the-desperate-attempt-to-blame-anybody-else-for-vladimir-putins-invasion-of-ukraine/

Nuclear survival

See updates through October 4, 2022, at end of post.



Fig. 1. “The atomic cloud over Nagasaki 1945.” Photograph from Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Overseas Operations Branch, New York Office, News and Features Bureau, (12/17/1942 – 09/15/1945), by Charles Levy, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

As the situation in Ukraine deteriorates, I am increasingly persuaded that Vladimir Putin’s ambitions are not limited to Ukraine.[1] The failure of economic sanctions and diplomatic pressure to alter Putin’s behavior[2] combine with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s desperate attempt to avoid a likely nuclear World War III[3] to reinforce Putin’s view of the West as weak. Read more

  1. [1]David Benfell, “Where does Vladimir Putin stop?” Not Housebroken, March 13, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/04/where-does-vladimir-putin-stop/
  2. [2]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/
  3. [3]Simon Lewis and Sabine Siebold, “NATO rejects Ukraine no-fly zone, says ‘not part of this’ war,” Reuters, March 4, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/nato-meets-ukraine-calls-no-fly-zone-hinder-russia-2022-03-04/

My 2024 forecast


Fig. 1. “Handmaids protest abortion restrictions at a recent rally,” undated photograph by John O’Connor for the Associated Press, via The Well,[1] fair use.

See updates through September 29, 2022, at end of post.


It is generally unwise, in fact, foolish, to forecast elections so far in advance as I am the 2024 general election in this post. And there is, in fact, only one reason I’m going public with this at this time.

I gather, okay, from my mother, that folks in more progressive parts of the world might doubt Donald Trump’s continued hold on the Republican Party and infer doubt from this about his prospects in 2024. After all, a certain Trump-loving segment of the Party has been expressing, um, outlandish views on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that ought to be repugnant to any sane person.[2] Read more

  1. [1]Kate Michael, “Attorneys General Heat Up as Reproductive Rights Cases Take Center Stage,” The Well, February 24, 2022, https://www.thewellnews.com/in-the-states/attorneys-general-heat-up-as-reproductive-rights-cases-take-center-stage/
  2. [2]Aaron Blake, “Tucker Carlson goes full blame-America on Russia’s Ukraine invasion,” Washington Post, March 8, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/08/tucker-carlson-goes-full-blame-america-russias-ukraine-invasion/; Philip Bump, “‘Genius,’ ‘Savvy’: Trump reacts to Putin’s moves on Ukraine exactly as you’d expect,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/22/trump-reacts-putins-invasion-ukraine-exactly-youd-expect/; Adam Gabbatt, “Tucker Carlson leads rightwing charge to blame everyone but Putin,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/feb/25/tucker-carlson-fox-news-russia-putin; Robert Mackey, “Russian TV Uses Tucker Carlson and Tulsi Gabbard to Sell Putin’s War,” Intercept, February 27, 2022, https://theintercept.com/2022/02/24/russian-tv-uses-tucker-carlson-tulsi-gabbard-sell-putins-war/

Where does Vladimir Putin stop?

See updates through October 4, 2022, at end of post.



Fig. 1. Vladimir Putin in Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (KGB) uniform, photograph from Kremlin.ru, circa 1980, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0.

Recall that Julia Ioffe, whose pessimism about Vladimir Putin’s designs on Ukraine has so far proven, if anything, excessively optimistic, but who has been much closer to the mark than almost anyone else, has warned us “that you can’t rule anything out when Putin is involved and that the most pessimistic prediction is usually the right one.”[1] In the wake of a Russian attack on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which set off an alarming blaze that set off fears of a calamity even worse than Chernobyl, which Russia has also seized,[2] the North Atlantic Treaty Organization secretary-general has announced that the organization is refusing to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine.[3]

In her latest on what is now a fully-fledged if so far poorly executed invasion ordered by, by all accounts, a madman,[4] Ioffe has written that Read more

  1. [1]Julia Ioffe, “Putin on the Brink… of What, Exactly?” Puck News, February 15, 2022, https://puck.news/putin-on-the-brink/
  2. [2]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; Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay, “Explainer: Why Russia and Ukraine are fighting for Chernobyl disaster site,” Reuters, February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/why-russia-ukraine-are-fighting-chernobyl-disaster-site-2022-02-25/; Reuters, “Chernobyl power plant captured by Russian forces -Ukrainian official,” February 24, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/chernobyl-power-plant-captured-by-russian-forces-ukrainian-official-2022-02-24/
  3. [3]Simon Lewis and Sabine Siebold, “NATO rejects Ukraine no-fly zone, says ‘not part of this’ war,” Reuters, March 4, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/nato-meets-ukraine-calls-no-fly-zone-hinder-russia-2022-03-04/
  4. [4]Associated Press, “Russia-Ukraine War: What to know as Ukraine resists advance,” February 28, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-war-what-to-know-1c7a5fc5e9cf84134592c855c363e791; Larisa Brown, “Ukraine resistance shatters Putin’s plan for victory in 48 hours,” Times, February 28, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk//article/ukraine-resistance-shatters-putins-plan-for-victory-in-48-hours-0flscp323; James Crisp, “Russian convoy’s advance on Kyiv deflated by flat tyres and Ukrainian mud,” Telegraph, March 3, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/03/russian-convoys-advance-kyiv-hampered-cheap-tyres-ukrainian/; Anthony Faiola, “Putin’s invasion of Ukraine could be backfiring,” Washington Post, February 27, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/27/russia-invasion-backfiring-ukraine/; Martin Farrer, Andrew Roth, and Julian Borger, “Ukraine war: sanctions-hit Russian rouble crashes as Zelenskiy speaks of ‘crucial’ 24 hours,” Guardian, February 28, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/28/ukraine-war-sanctions-hit-russian-rouble-crashes-as-zelenskiy-speaks-of-crucial-24-hours; Roman Goncharenko and Andreas Illmer, “Ukraine: What will the next days bring and what is Russia’s overall plan?” February 26, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/ukraine-what-will-the-next-days-bring-and-what-is-russias-overall-plan/a-60927957; Shira Hanau, “Declaring war on Ukraine, Russia’s Putin cites goal of ‘denazification’ of country with Jewish president,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 24, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/02/24/global/declaring-war-on-ukraine-russias-putin-cites-goal-of-denazification-of-country-with-jewish-president; Luke Harding, “How Ukrainian defiance has derailed Putin’s plans,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/26/how-ukrainian-defiance-has-derailed-putins-plans; Luke Harding, Jon Henley, and Martin Farrer, “Russia aims to erase Ukraine, says Zelenskiy, as bombardment intensifies,” Guardian, March 2, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/02/ukraine-cities-bombardment-russia-attack-kyiv-kharkiv-russian-war-invasion; Yuras Karmanau et al., “Ukraine’s capital under threat as Russia presses invasion,” Associated Press, February 25, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-volodymyr-zelenskyy-boris-johnson-business-08f569df695831ee467979527ea2e241; Yuras Karmanau et al., “Russia pummels Ukraine’s No. 2 city and convoy nears Kyiv,” Associated Press, March 1, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-united-nations-general-assembly-kyiv-business-europe-abc3e297725e57e6052529d844b5ee2f; 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; Roland Oliphant, “The Russians rolled into Kharkiv like victors, but it was another disaster for them,” Telegraph, February 28, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/02/27/dispatch-russians-rolled-kharkiv-like-victors-another-disaster/; Roland Oliphant, Gordon Rayner, and Lucy Fisher, “Vladimir Putin set to ‘cut Ukraine in two’ as key city of Kherson falls to Russians,” Telegraph, March 3, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/02/vladimir-putin-set-cut-ukraine-two-key-city-kherson-falls-russians/; Reuters, “Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now,” February 26, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-russia-what-you-need-know-right-now-2022-02-26/; Reuters, “Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now,” March 4, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-russia-what-you-need-know-right-now-2022-03-03/; Emily Schultheis, “Ukraine invasion: What to know as Russian forces target Kyiv,” Associated Press, February 26, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-conflict-updates-today-c489b6f56d84f9483802dc3f142cbc8e; Michael Schwirtz and Richard Pérez-Peña, “Kremlin Vows Victory in Ukraine as Refugees Swell to One Million,” New York Times, March 3, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/03/world/europe/russia-ukraine-invasion-kremlin.html; Ann M. Simmons, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russia Begins Military Operation in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-shifts-to-war-footing-tells-citizens-to-leave-russia-11645616181; Ann M. Simmons and Matthew Luxmoore, “Putin Finds Himself Isolated, Out of Touch as Invasion of Ukraine Sputters,” Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/as-his-invasion-of-ukraine-sputters-putin-finds-himself-isolated-and-out-of-touch-11646000993; 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/; Liz Sly and Dan Lamothe, “The war in Ukraine isn’t working out the way Russia intended,” Washington Post, February 27, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/27/ukraine-russia-invasion-tactics/; David L. Stern, “Russia claims control of vital port city in Ukraine, as convoy outside Kyiv remains stalled,” Washington Post, March 3, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/02/ukraine-battlefield-military-offensive-kherson/; Adam Taylor, “War in Ukraine enters a new phase, even more unpredictable and dangerous than the last,” Washington Post, March 1, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/03/01/ukraine-putin-nuclear-sanctions/; Nataliya Vasilyeva, Robert Mendick, and Mason Boycott-Owen, “Russian troops in disarray and ‘crying’ in combat, radio messages reveal,” Telegraph, March 1, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/01/russian-troops-disarray-crying-combat-radio-messages-reveal/

The desperate attempt to blame anybody else for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

See update for March 3, 2022, at end of post.



Julia Ioffe is responding to a phenomenon on Twitter and elsewhere that has provoked my fury. While a number of people on the right seem to admire Vladimir Putin’s “strength” against Joe Biden’s alleged “weakness” and blame the North Atlantic Treaty Organization[1] for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,[2] there are also a lot of people, who claim to be on the Left, who repeat the right-wing talking points at least in part. They necessarily assume that Russia has rights beyond its own borders, a position I continue to categorically reject.[3] Read more

  1. [1]Philip Bump, “‘Genius,’ ‘Savvy’: Trump reacts to Putin’s moves on Ukraine exactly as you’d expect,” Washington Post, February 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/22/trump-reacts-putins-invasion-ukraine-exactly-youd-expect/; Adam Gabbatt, “Tucker Carlson leads rightwing charge to blame everyone but Putin,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/feb/25/tucker-carlson-fox-news-russia-putin; Robert Mackey, “Russian TV Uses Tucker Carlson and Tulsi Gabbard to Sell Putin’s War,” Intercept, February 24, 2022, https://theintercept.com/2022/02/24/russian-tv-uses-tucker-carlson-tulsi-gabbard-sell-putins-war/
  2. [2]Associated Press, “Russia-Ukraine War: What to know as Ukraine resists advance,” February 28, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-war-what-to-know-1c7a5fc5e9cf84134592c855c363e791; Larisa Brown, “Ukraine resistance shatters Putin’s plan for victory in 48 hours,” Times, February 28, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk//article/ukraine-resistance-shatters-putins-plan-for-victory-in-48-hours-0flscp323; Anthony Faiola, “Putin’s invasion of Ukraine could be backfiring,” Washington Post, February 27, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/27/russia-invasion-backfiring-ukraine/; Martin Farrer, Andrew Roth, and Julian Borger, “Ukraine war: sanctions-hit Russian rouble crashes as Zelenskiy speaks of ‘crucial’ 24 hours,” Guardian, February 28, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/28/ukraine-war-sanctions-hit-russian-rouble-crashes-as-zelenskiy-speaks-of-crucial-24-hours; Roman Goncharenko and Andreas Illmer, “Ukraine: What will the next days bring and what is Russia’s overall plan?” February 26, 2022, https://www.dw.com/en/ukraine-what-will-the-next-days-bring-and-what-is-russias-overall-plan/a-60927957; Shira Hanau, “Declaring war on Ukraine, Russia’s Putin cites goal of ‘denazification’ of country with Jewish president,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 24, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/02/24/global/declaring-war-on-ukraine-russias-putin-cites-goal-of-denazification-of-country-with-jewish-president; Luke Harding, “How Ukrainian defiance has derailed Putin’s plans,” Guardian, February 26, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/26/how-ukrainian-defiance-has-derailed-putins-plans; Luke Harding, Jon Henley, and Martin Farrer, “Russia aims to erase Ukraine, says Zelenskiy, as bombardment intensifies,” Guardian, March 2, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/02/ukraine-cities-bombardment-russia-attack-kyiv-kharkiv-russian-war-invasion; Yuras Karmanau et al., “Ukraine’s capital under threat as Russia presses invasion,” Associated Press, February 25, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-vladimir-putin-volodymyr-zelenskyy-boris-johnson-business-08f569df695831ee467979527ea2e241; Yuras Karmanau et al., “Russia pummels Ukraine’s No. 2 city and convoy nears Kyiv,” Associated Press, March 1, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-united-nations-general-assembly-kyiv-business-europe-abc3e297725e57e6052529d844b5ee2f; Roland Oliphant, “The Russians rolled into Kharkiv like victors, but it was another disaster for them,” Telegraph, February 28, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/02/27/dispatch-russians-rolled-kharkiv-like-victors-another-disaster/; Reuters, “Ukraine and Russia: What you need to know right now,” February 26, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-russia-what-you-need-know-right-now-2022-02-26/; Emily Schultheis, “Ukraine invasion: What to know as Russian forces target Kyiv,” Associated Press, February 26, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-conflict-updates-today-c489b6f56d84f9483802dc3f142cbc8e; Ann M. Simmons, Alan Cullison, and Yaroslav Trofimov, “Russia Begins Military Operation in Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukraine-shifts-to-war-footing-tells-citizens-to-leave-russia-11645616181; Ann M. Simmons and Matthew Luxmoore, “Putin Finds Himself Isolated, Out of Touch as Invasion of Ukraine Sputters,” Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/as-his-invasion-of-ukraine-sputters-putin-finds-himself-isolated-and-out-of-touch-11646000993; Liz Sly and Dan Lamothe, “The war in Ukraine isn’t working out the way Russia intended,” Washington Post, February 27, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/27/ukraine-russia-invasion-tactics/; Adam Taylor, “War in Ukraine enters a new phase, even more unpredictable and dangerous than the last,” Washington Post, March 1, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/03/01/ukraine-putin-nuclear-sanctions/; Nataliya Vasilyeva, Robert Mendick, and Mason Boycott-Owen, “Russian troops in disarray and ‘crying’ in combat, radio messages reveal,” Telegraph, March 1, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/03/01/russian-troops-disarray-crying-combat-radio-messages-reveal/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Poor Ukraine, so far from God and so close to Russia,” Not Housebroken, January 1, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/01/01/poor-ukraine-so-far-from-god-and-so-close-to-russia/