We are monsters

It should be clear to anyone of conscience that the events I listed in these tweets are no exceptions:

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A self-defeating idiocy

See updates through May 18, 2022, at end of post.


Note: A portion of this post was initially published as an update to two previous blog posts.[1] Those updates have been replaced with a note pointing to this post. This text has been revised and extended.

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  1. [1]David Benfell, “Nuclear survival,” Not Housebroken, March 30, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/13/nuclear-survival/; David Benfell, “Where does Vladimir Putin stop?” Not Housebroken, April 4, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/04/where-does-vladimir-putin-stop/

Anti-intellectualism and the need for independent scholarship

I’m still thinking about a Guardian op-ed my mother pointed me to announcing “The People’s CDC” and criticizing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its apparent craven capitulation to capitalism.[1] I’m seeing this problem as part and parcel with a larger problem of distrust, some of it well earned, of intellectual elites, who have favored neoliberal policy at the expense of workers,[2] and thus propelled us on a path to a right-wing dictatorship, which will likely be put fully into place if, as nearly everyone expects, Republicans win control of Congress in the elections later this year, and if, as I expect, Donald Trump returns to the presidency in 2025;[3] with climate change, which threatens our very existence on this planet, but which many continue to deny or minimize; and with COVID-19, in which conspiracy theories have outweighed medical advice in a large segment of the population, overwhelming medical systems, exhausting and demoralizing medical workers, and killing even vaccinated people who needed medical care they couldn’t get.[4] The CDC has too often, to my eye, told politicians what they desperately want to hear,[5] and hence what capitalists desperately want to hear,[6] rather than making a clear distinction between what the science says and what it judges society willing to tolerate, further undermining intellectual elites. Read more

  1. [1]Mindy Fullilove et al., “The CDC is beholden to corporations and lost our trust. We need to start our own The People’s CDC,” Guardian, April 3, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/apr/03/peoples-cdc-covid-guidelines
  2. [2]Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter with Kansas? (New York: Henry Holt, 2004); Thomas Frank, Pity the Billionaire (New York: Metropolitan, 2012).
  3. [3]David Benfell, “My 2024 forecast,” Not Housebroken, March 10, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/10/my-2024-forecast/
  4. [4]Brianna Abbott, “Covid-19 Rise, Vaccine Hesitancy Frustrate Doctors in Hospitals Saturated by the Delta Variant,” Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19-rise-vaccine-hesitancy-frustrate-doctors-in-hospitals-saturated-by-the-delta-variant-11628760602; Paula Aceves, “The Fake Vaxx Card Next to You,” New York, September 14, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/09/nyc-vaccine-mandate-fake-cards-are-booming.html; Krutika Amin and Cynthia Cox, “Unvaccinated COVID-19 hospitalizations cost the U.S. health system billions of dollars,” Peterson Foundation on Healthcare and Kaiser Family Foundation, August 20, 2021, https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/brief/unvaccinated-covid-patients-cost-the-u-s-health-system-billions-of-dollars/; Associated Press, “FDA warns against using the drugs that Trump touts for coronavirus,” Los Angeles Times, April 24, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-04-24/fda-warns-against-using-trump-touted-drugs-to-treat-coronavirus; Sarah Bahr and Mike Baker, “Another Christmas of Death and Distress in America’s I.C.U.s,” New York Times, December 25, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/25/us/covid-hospitals.html; Sarah Pulliam Bailey, “This pastor will sign a religious exemption for vaccines if you donate to his church,” Washington Post, September 15, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2021/09/15/pastor-donate-vaccine-religious-exemption/; Mike Baker, “In Alaska’s Covid Crisis, Doctors Must Decide Who Lives and Who Dies,” New York Times, October 3, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/03/us/coronavirus-crisis-alaska.html; Sam Baker, “Coronavirus cases are soaring, especially in the South,” Axios, August 26, 2021, https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-cases-infections-vaccines-hospital-11d44b25-ed17-40cd-b8cf-ca9c4eb582f5.html; Katie Balevic, “3 Washington schools went into lockdown after far-right anti-mask protestors tried to access property,” Insider, September 4, 2021, https://www.insider.com/three-washington-schools-lockdown-proud-boys-protest-masks-enter-schools-2021-9; Timothy Bella, “Tucker Carlson falsely claims Anthony S. Fauci ‘created’ covid,” Washington Post, July 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/07/29/tucker-carlson-fauci-created-covid/; Timothy Bella, “Alabama man dies after being turned away from 43 hospitals as covid packs ICUs, family says,” Washington Post, September 12, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/09/12/alabama-ray-demonia-hospitals-icu/; Steve Beynon, “‘He Is Not Your Commander-in-Chief:’ Texas Governor Promises Guardsmen He’ll Fight Biden Over Vaccine Mandate,” Military.com, January 4, 2022, https://www.military.com/daily-news/2022/01/04/he-not-your-commander-chief-texas-governor-promises-guardsmen-hell-fight-biden-over-vaccine-mandate.html; Uché Blackstock, “Two words no parent of a sick child should have to hear: ‘At capacity,’” Washington Post, September 2, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/09/02/picu-hospital-beds-children-covid/; Aaron Blake, “The GOP is losing the argument on coronavirus mandates,” Washington Post, August 19, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/08/18/gop-is-losing-pr-battle-coronavirus-mandates/; Aaron Blake, “The GOP fought mandates by emphasizing the vaccines’ emergency status. Now what?” Washington Post, August 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/08/23/gop-fought-mandates-by-emphasizing-vaccines-emergency-status-now-what/; Aaron Blake, “The question Republicans still can’t really answer on vaccine mandates,” Washington Post, September 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/09/25/question-republicans-still-cant-really-answer-vaccine-mandates/; Rebecca Boone, “COVID-19 surge forces health care rationing in parts of West,” ABC News, September 16, 2021, https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/idaho-rations-health-care-statewide-covid-surge-continues-80056295; Max Boot, “Republicans are preventing America from reaching Biden’s vaccination goal,” Washington Post, July 6, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/06/republican-antivaxxers-biden-vaccination-goal/; Hailey Branson-Potts, “Mortuaries fill, hospitals clog in rural California towns with low vaccination rates,“ Los Angeles Times, August 28, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-08-28/la-me-rural-california-covid-surge-vaccinations-lag; Philip Bump, “Vaccine skepticism and disregard for containment efforts go hand in hand,” Washington Post, April 2, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/04/02/vaccine-skepticism-disregard-containment-efforts-go-hand-in-hand/; Philip Bump, “A third of White conservatives refuse to get vaccinated — a refusal shown in polling and the real world,” Washington Post, July 6, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/06/third-white-conservatives-refuse-get-vaccine-refusal-shown-both-polling-real-world/; Stephen Caruso, “Pa. GOP candidate says he’ll bring ‘strong men’ to intimidate pro-mask school boards,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, August 30, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/pa-gop-candidate-says-hell-bring-strong-men-to-intimidate-pro-mask-school-boards/; Ariana Eunjung Cha and Jacqueline Dupree, “Omicron and children: Pediatric hospitals in parts of U.S. filling fast,” Washington Post, December 24, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/12/24/omicron-children-hospitalizations-us/; Ariana Eunjung Cha and Laurie McGinley, “Antimalarial drug touted by President Trump is linked to increased risk of death in coronavirus patients, study says,” Washington Post, May 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/05/22/hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus-study/; Allyson Chiu, Katie Shepherd, and Brittany Shammas, “Trump comments prompt doctors, and Lysol, to warn against injecting disinfectants,” Washington Post, April 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/24/disinfectant-injection-coronavirus-trump/; Jenny Deam, “A Boy Went to a COVID-Swamped ER. He Waited for Hours. Then His Appendix Burst,” ProPublica, September 15, 2021, https://www.propublica.org/article/a-boy-went-to-a-covid-swamped-er-he-waited-for-hours-then-his-appendix-burst; Ryan Deto, “Allegheny County ran out of pediatric ICU beds and added tents to increase bed capacity,” Pittsburgh City Paper, September 20, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/allegheny-county-ran-out-of-pediatric-icu-beds-and-added-tents-to-increase-bed-capacity/Content?oid=20230230; Dan Diamond, “‘I’m still not planning to get it’: FDA approval not swaying some vaccine holdouts,” Washington Post, August 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/25/fda-approval-vaccine-holdouts/; Dan Diamond, Hannah Knowles, and Tyler Pager, “Vaccine hesitancy morphs into hostility, as opposition to shots hardens,” Washington Post, July 15, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/covid-vaccines-biden-trump/2021/07/15/adaf6c7e-e4bd-11eb-a41e-c8442c213fa8_story.html; Dan Diamond and Tyler Pager, “‘Patience has worn thin’: Frustration mounts over vaccine holdouts,” Washington Post, July 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/07/23/anger-targets-vaccine-holdouts-delta-surge/; Aya Elamroussi, “‘This is starting to look really ominous in the South,’ expert says, as US is among nations with highest rate of new Covid-19 cases,” CNN, August 14, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/14/health/us-coronavirus-saturday/index.html; Priya Elan, “The data is in: men are too fragile to wear Covid-19 masks. Grow up, guys,” Guardian, July 3, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/03/covid-19-masks-men-masculinity; Melanie Evans, “Hospitals Cut Beds as Nurses Call In Sick With Covid-19,” Wall Street Journal, January 10, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hospitals-cut-beds-as-nurses-call-in-sick-with-covid-19-11641810781; Melanie Evans and Julie Wernau, “Unvaccinated Americans Are Behind Rising Covid-19 Hospitalizations,” Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/unvaccinated-covid-19-hospitalizations-11626528110; Paul Farhi, “Four conservative radio talk-show hosts bashed coronavirus vaccines. Then they got sick,” Washington Post, September 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/media/conservative-talk-radio-covid-deaths/2021/08/31/a912a89c-0a66-11ec-aea1-42a8138f132a_story.html; Stephanie Farr, “Main Line Health pauses elective surgeries and procedures amid a surge in COVID-19 cases,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 2, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/main-line-health-covid-stops-elective-surgeries-20220102.html; Julia Felton, “Pa. officials: 94% of covid cases were in unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 14, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pa-officials-94-of-covid-cases-were-in-unvaccinated-or-not-fully-vaccinated-people/; Julia Felton, “Feds seize 2 shipments of fake covid vaccination cards in Pittsburgh,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 15, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/regional/officers-seize-2-shipments-of-fake-covid-vaccination-cards-in-pittsburgh/; Julia Felton, “‘This is the worst I’ve seen’: Longer waits reported at Western Pa. hospitals,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 16, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/regional/this-is-the-worst-ive-seen-longer-waits-reported-western-pa-hospitals/; Marisa Fernandez, “As hospitals fill, more ambulances forced to wait,” Axios, August 27, 2021, https://www.axios.com/local-ems-covid-surge-wait-times-611657fc-8ddf-4b32-a6dc-c7f2eb799487.html; Tim Fitzsimons and The Associated Press, “Top Tennessee health official says she was fired after efforts to get teens vaccinated,” NBC News, July 13, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/top-tennessee-health-official-says-she-was-fired-after-efforts-n1273887; David Frum, “Vaccinated America Has Had Enough,” Atlantic, July 23, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/07/vaccinated-america-breaking-point-anti-vaxxers/619539/; Sarah Gantz and Stacey Burling, “Pa. hospitals are really busy. They beg you to get your flu and COVID-19 vaccines,” Philadelphia Inquirer, December 10, 2021, https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/covid-hospitalizations-pennsylvania-unvaccinated-20211210.html; Nancy Gibbs, “Do the unvaccinated deserve scarce ICU beds?” Washington Post, September 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/09/01/do-unvaccinated-deserve-scarce-icu-beds/; Jamie Grierson, “Fake Covid vaccine and test certificate market is growing, researchers say,” Guardian, May 16, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/16/fake-covid-vaccine-and-test-certificate-market-is-growing-researchers-say; Michael M. Grynbaum, Tiffany Hsu, and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, “On Fox News, Vaccination Pleas Intensify, but Skepticism Persists,” New York Times, July 20, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/20/business/media/fox-news-covid-vaccines.html; Megan Guza, “Covid-driven hospital surge ‘not a sustainable situation’ in Western Pa., expert says,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 9, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/regional/covid-driven-hospital-surge-not-a-sustainable-situation-in-western-pa-expert-says/; Edward Helmore, “Rightwing radio host and anti-vaxxer dies of Covid,” Guardian, August 8, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/aug/08/rightwing-radio-host-dick-farrel-anti-vaxxer-dies-covid; Melissa Hernandez, “How politicized has vaccination become? Thousands of U.S. troops are disobeying orders that they get shots,” Los Angeles Times, January 5, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-01-05/thousands-of-u-s-troops-defy-orders-to-get-covid-19-vaccine; Michael Hiltzik, “‘Death panels’ arrive — in COVID-stricken Republican Idaho,” Los Angeles Times, September 17, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-09-17/death-panels-republican-covid-stricken-idaho; Jeff Himler, “Covid cases create ‘desperate’ situation at Westmoreland hospitals,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 14, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/covid-cases-create-desperate-situation-at-westmoreland-hospitals/; Amy Hudak, “Wait times growing at Pittsburgh area hospital emergency rooms,” WPXI, September 16, 2021, https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/pittsburgh-area-hospitals-seeing-longer-wait-times-care/FEH2ZZNSIBF45N37WFRJW7563A/; “ICU is full of the unvaccinated – my patience with them is wearing thin,” Guardian, November 21, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/21/icu-is-full-of-the-unvaccinated-my-patience-with-them-is-wearing-thin; Courtney Ann Jackson, “Mississippi doctors still urging folks to get vaccinated as Delta variant becomes dominant COVID strain,” WLBT, July 5, 2021, https://www.wlbt.com/2021/07/06/mississippi-doctors-still-urging-folks-get-vaccinated-delta-variant-becomes-dominant-covid-strain/; Peter Jamison, “Their neighbors called covid-19 a hoax. Can these ICU nurses forgive them?” Washington Post, July 6, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/07/06/appalachian-covid-deniers-nurses-virginia/; Jenny Jarvie, Richard Read, and Molly Hennessy-Fiske, “With Delta surging, America is dangerously divided over vaccines,” Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-08-05/united-states-covid-vaccines-divisions; Ron Kampeas, “In latest Nazi analogy, Marjorie Taylor Greene invokes ‘medical brown shirts’ in decrying vaccination outreach,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 7, 2021, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/in-latest-nazi-analogy-marjorie-taylor-greene-invokes-medical-brown-shirts-in-decrying-vaccination-outreach; Juliette Kayyem, “Unvaccinated People Need to Bear the Burden,” Atlantic, August 3, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/08/unvaccinated-flight-vaccine-tsa-mandate/619643/; Brett Kelman, “Tennessee abandons vaccine outreach to minors — not just for COVID-19,” Nashville Tennessean, July 13, 2021, https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/health/2021/07/13/tennessee-halts-all-vaccine-outreach-minors-not-just-covid-19/7928701002/; Dhruv Khullar, “One half of America is protected. The other is approaching a perilous moment in the pandemic,” New Yorker, June 23, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/science/medical-dispatch/the-delta-variant-is-a-grave-danger-to-the-unvaccinated; Ed Kilgore, “The Willfully Unvaccinated Are the Newest Republican Martyrs,” New York, July 13, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/07/the-willfully-unvaccinated-are-the-newest-republican-martyrs.html; Christina Baker Kline, “My father should be in surgery rehab. But with beds full of the unvaccinated, he died in covid quarantine,” Washington Post, September 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/09/28/christina-baker-kline-father-death-covid-quarantine/; Hannah Knowles, “A Texas GOP official’s covid-19 death went viral. Then came calls for vaccination — and bitter divides,” Washington Post, August 21, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/21/scott-apley-covid-death-vaccine/; Hannah Knowles, “DeSantis sells ‘Don’t Fauci My Florida’ merch as new coronavirus cases near highest in nation,” Washington Post, July 14, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/13/desantis-fauci-florida/; Hannah Knowles and Caroline Anders, “Hospital system says it will deny transplants to the unvaccinated in ‘almost all situations,’” Washington Post, October 6, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/10/05/uchealth-transplant-unvaccinated/; Jeremy Kohler, “GOP Legislators in Missouri Oppose Vaccine Efforts as State Becomes COVID Hotspot,” Pro Publica, July 21, 2021, https://www.propublica.org/article/missouri-legislators-oppose-vaccine-efforts-as-state-becomes-covid-hotspot; Oliver Laughland, “Southern US hospitals grapple with staff shortages amid record Covid cases,” Guardian, January 14, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/14/southern-us-hospitals-staff-shortages-record-covid-cases; Oliver Laughland and Jessica Glenza, “Inside a Tennessee hospital grappling with Delta and vaccine hesitancy,” Guardian, July 24, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/24/tennessee-coronavirus-covid-delta-variant-cases-vaccines; Rong-Gong Lin, II, “Anti-vaccine forces pushing ivermectin. It can be toxic, dangerous, officials say,” Los Angeles Times, August 31, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-08-31/what-is-ivermectin-officials-say-covid-treatment-toxic; Summer Lin, “Got your COVID vaccine? Stay out, says California restaurateur decrying ‘stupidity,’” Sacramento Bee, July 26, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article253039643.html; Natasha Lindstrom, “Out-of-state covid hot spots ‘desperate’ to transfer patients to Western Pa. hospitals,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 12, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/health-now/out-of-state-covid-hot-spots-desperate-to-transfer-patients-to-western-pa-hospitals/; Annie Linskey, Tyler Pager, and Dan Diamond, “Surge of covid delta variant poses new political threat to Biden and his agenda,” Washington Post, July 24, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-covid-delta-agenda/2021/07/23/11afddae-ebc0-11eb-ba5d-55d3b5ffcaf1_story.html; David Litt, “Republicans used to laud ‘personal responsibility’. Not with Covid,” Guardian, July 30, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/30/republicans-used-to-laud-personal-responsibility-not-with-covid; Arwa Mahdawi, “Anti-vaxxers are touting another new Covid ‘cure’ – drinking urine. But they are not the only obstacles to ending the pandemic,” Guardian, January 11, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/11/anti-vaxxers-covid-drinking-urine-misinformation; Ruth Marcus, “Require the vaccine. It’s time to stop coddling the reckless,” Washington Post, July 30, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/30/require-vaccine-its-time-stop-coddling-reckless/; Jamie Martines and Angie Couloumbis, “Pa. school mask lawsuit backed by group that challenged 2020 election results,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 12, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pa-school-mask-lawsuit-backed-by-group-that-challenged-2020-election-results/; Erin McCarthy, “Pa. nurses after 22 months of COVID-19 and a new surge: ‘It is so defeating,’” Philadelphia Inquirer, December 31, 2021, https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/pennsylvania-nurses-covid-icu-hospitalizations-burnout-20211231.html; Erin McCarthy and Justine McDaniel, “Delco hospitals are full and an ER is closing as COVID-19 surge intensifies in Philly area,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 10, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/delco-hospital-capacity-omicron-covid-surge-20220110.html; Justine McDaniel and Erin McCarthy, “Full ICUs, 100 dying a day: The winter coronavirus surge is straining Pa.’s health-care system,” Philadelphia Inquirer, December 17, 2021, https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/covid-icu-beds-hospitalizations-pennsylvania-20211217.html; Justine McDaniel and Erin McCarthy, “About 90% of COVID-19 patients in some of Pa.’s hardest-hit hospitals are unvaccinated,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 7, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/covid-hospitalizations-pa-vaccines-omicron-20220107.html; Justine McDaniel, Allison Steele, and Erin McCarthy, “‘Enough is enough’: Gov. Murphy’s outburst was the latest sign of rising anger over pandemic divide,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 5, 2021, https://www.inquirer.com/news/murphy-vaccine-covid-protest-nj-vaccinated-20210805.html; Laurie McGinley and Josh Dawsey, “Touting criticized study, White House presses FDA to authorize hydroxychloroquine — again,” Washington Post, July 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/07/10/peter-navarro-hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus/; Michael McGough, “Sacramento hospitals ‘at capacity’ and COVID deaths at 6-month high as delta spreads,” Sacramento Bee, August 26, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article253761928.html; Chris Megerian, “Biden’s coronavirus success threatened by political divisions he pledged to heal,” Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-04-27/bidens-coronavirus-success-threatened-by-political-divisions-he-pledged-to-heal; Brittny Mejia, “ICU doctors, nurses demoralized over ‘needless’ COVID-19 misery. ‘Patients are still dying,’” Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-12-24/covid-icu; Luke Money, Rong-Gong Lin, II, and Emily Alpert Reyes, “Hospitals see big jumps in COVID-19 patients, but this surge is different from last winter,” Los Angeles Times, January 4, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-01-04/covid-hospitalizations-top-summer-surge-in-l-a; Donie O’Sullivan, “One of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s verified Twitter accounts permanently suspended from Twitter,” CNN, January 2, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/02/politics/marjorie-taylor-greene-twitter-suspension/index.html; Mike Palm, “Westmoreland, Allegheny covid cases reach totals not seen since January,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 18, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/westmoreland-allegheny-covid-cases-reach-totals-not-seen-since-january/; Grace Panetta, “GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert calls Biden’s door-to-door vaccinators ‘needle Nazis,’” Yahoo! News, July 8, 2021, https://news.yahoo.com/gop-rep-lauren-boebert-calls-130015902.html; Tawnya Panizzi, Renatta Signorini, and Natasha Lindstrom, “‘You can’t fix it with facts’: Doctors share patients’ excuses for covid vaccine refusal,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 17, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/regional/you-cant-fix-it-with-facts-doctors-share-patients-excuses-for-covid-vaccine-refusal/; Kari Paul, “‘A systemic failure’: vaccine misinformation remains rampant on Facebook, experts say,” Guardian, July 21, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/jul/21/facebook-misinformation-vaccines; Jaclyn Peiser, “Evangelical pastor demands churchgoers ditch their masks: ‘Don’t believe this delta variant nonsense,’” Washington Post, July 27, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/07/27/tennessee-pastor-greg-locke-masks/; Betsy Phillips, “I was supposed to have life-saving surgery. Tennessee’s covid-19 surge cost me a hospital bed,” Washington Post, September 14, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/09/14/tennessee-covid-19-surge-hospital-beds-surgery/; Bryan Pietsch, “Twitter suspends Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for spreading covid-19 misinformation,” Washington Post, July 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/20/marjorie-taylor-green-twitter-suspended-covid/; Ed Pilkington and Lauren Aratani, “US seeing ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’ as cases rise in every state,” Guardian, July 16, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/16/covid-19-us-delta-variant-unvaccinated; Marion Renault, “Red America’s Compassion Fatigue: A Report From Mobile, Alabama,” New Republic, October 21, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/163919/mobile-alabama-covid-vaccination-red-america-compassion-fatigue; Tony Romm, “Fake cures and other coronavirus conspiracy theories are flooding WhatsApp, leaving governments and users with a ‘sense of panic,’” Washington Post, March 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/03/02/whatsapp-coronavirus-misinformation/; Jennifer Rubin, “Americans have had it with vaccine refusers and anti-mandate politicians,” Washington Post, August 4, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/04/americans-have-had-it-with-vaccine-refusers-anti-mandate-pols/; Michael Rubinkam, “COVID surge: Pennsylvania hospital chain runs out of beds,” Associated Press, December 8, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-business-health-pennsylvania-a14addad0c7c7d67c71ad6f3364dbefa; Aaron Rupar, “Trump and Fox News want to send their hydroxychloroquine hype down the memory hole,” Vox, April 22, 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/4/22/21230982/hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus-trump-fox-news-hype; Ben Sales, “A Proud Boys-sympathizing rabbi in Florida has provided 200 vaccine exemption requests,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 8, 2021, https://www.jta.org/2021/10/08/health/a-proud-boys-affiliated-rabbi-in-florida-is-offering-to-endorse-covid-19-vaccine-exemption-requests; Jim Salter, “COVID-related attacks prompt hospital to issue panic buttons,” Associated Press, September 28, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-business-covid-19-pandemic-missouri-springfield-397f9fca72155f35035df85c9f2e0941; Anna Sanders and Chris Sommerfeldt, “A spike in New Yorkers ingesting household cleaners following Trump’s controversial coronavirus comments,” New York Daily News, April 24, 2020, https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-new-yorkers-household-cleaners-trump-20200425-rnaqio5dyfeaxmthxx2vktqa5m-story.html; Ivana Saric, “The fight over mask mandates in schools turns violent,” Axios, August 23, 2021, https://www.axios.com/mask-school-mandate-violence-covid-3abff916-242d-4db5-87f7-b4314dc57c3d.html; Eugene Scott, “Marjorie Taylor Greene suspended from Facebook for 24 hours for covid-19 misinformation, one day after Twitter account suspension,” Washington Post, January 3, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/03/marjorie-taylor-greene-suspended-facebook-24-hours-covid-19-misinformation-one-day-after-twitter-account-suspension/; Mark Scott and Steven Overly, “‘Conspiracy bingo’: Trans-Atlantic extremists seize on the pandemic,” Politico, May 12, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/12/trans-atlantic-conspiracy-coronavirus-251325; Andrew Seidman, “Mask and vaccine mandates have broad support, polls show. But some Pa. Republicans are campaigning against them,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 29, 2021, https://www.inquirer.com/news/pa-republicans-mask-vaccine-mandates-2022-20210829.html; Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, “Health Dept. Official Says Doubts on Hydroxychloroquine Led to His Ouster,” New York Times, April 22, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/us/politics/rick-bright-trump-hydroxychloroquine.html; Renatta Signorini, “Greater Latrobe, Derry Area students plan walkouts to protest mask mandate,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 6, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/greater-latrobe-students-plan-walkout-to-protest-mask-mandate/; Hayley Smith, “With hospitals reeling, California tells COVID-positive medical workers to stay on the job,” Los Angeles Times, January 12, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-01-12/california-to-covid-positive-healthcare-workers-keep-working; Will Sommer, “QAnon Star Who Said Only ‘Idiots’ Get Vax Dies of COVID,” Daily Beast, January 7, 2022, https://www.thedailybeast.com/qanon-star-cirsten-weldon-who-said-only-idiots-get-vaccinated-dies-of-covid; Isaac Stanley-Becker, “GOP governors scorn pandemic restrictions as they compete for primacy in a pro-Trump party,” Washington Post, March 5, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/texas-mask-mandate-abbott/2021/03/04/ceec92bc-7d12-11eb-b3d1-9e5aa3d5220c_story.html; Isaac Stanley-Becker, “Charlie Kirk’s pro-Trump youth group stokes vaccine resistance as covid surges again,” Washington Post, July 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/29/vaccine-mandates-charlie-kirk-tpusa/; Lena H. Sun and Joel Achenbach, “Unvaccinated people were 11 times more likely to die of covid-19, CDC report finds,” Washington Post, September 10, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/09/10/moderna-most-effective-covid-vaccine-studies/; Sudhin Thanawala and Jay Reeves, “Virus surge breaks hospital records amid rising toll on kids,” Sacramento Bee, August 26, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/article253764343.html; Annabelle Timsit, “GOP governors threaten to sue over mandates; Biden says, ‘have at it,’” Washington Post, September 10, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/09/10/republican-governors-sue-biden-vaccine-mandate/; Helen Ubiñas, “Stop begging the COVID bullies. We can’t ‘nice’ people into doing the right thing,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 13, 2021, https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/covid-masks-mandates-vaccines-philadelphia-mayor-kenney-helen-ubinas-20210813.html; Daniel Villarreal, “Matt Gaetz Says Anthony Fauci ‘Has Blood on His Hands, And Now the Country Knows It,’” Newsweek, June 4, 2021, https://www.newsweek.com/matt-gaetz-says-anthony-fauci-has-blood-his-hands-now-country-knows-it-1597853; Paul Waldman, “Right-wing anti-vaccine hysteria is increasing. We’ll all pay the price,” Washington Post, July 8, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/08/right-wing-anti-vaccine-hysteria-is-increasing-well-all-pay-price/; Paul Waldman, “I’m tired of being nice to vaccine refusers,” Washington Post, July 27, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/27/im-tired-being-nice-vaccine-refusers/; Paul Waldman, “Time to say it: We’re done with the vaccine refusers,” Washington Post, August 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/23/time-say-it-were-done-with-vaccine-refusers/; Paul Waldman, “The red covid wave is here,” Washington Post, December 17, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/17/red-covid-wave-is-here/; Laurel Wamsley, “Florida Gov. DeSantis Rejects Vaccine Passports As ‘Completely Unacceptable,’” National Public Radio, March 30, 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/03/30/982837517/florida-gov-desantis-rejects-vaccine-passports-as-completely-unacceptable; WBUR, “Mass. hospitals welcome National Guard members, cancel non-urgent procedures as cases rise,” December 27, 2021, https://www.wbur.org/news/2021/12/27/covid-hospital-staffing-challenges-baker-patients; Leana S. Wen, “The CDC needs to make clear: The problem is the unvaccinated,” Washington Post, July 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/29/leana-wen-cdc-mask-guidance-unvaccinated-problem/; Dan Whitcomb, “Texas governor bars all COVID-19 vaccine mandates in state, rips Biden for ‘bullying,’” Reuters, October 12, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/texas-governor-bars-all-vaccine-mandates-state-2021-10-11/; Ed White, “Hits ‘keep coming’: Hospitals struggle as COVID beds fill,” Associated Press, December 18, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-health-detroit-nebraska-kansas-5e98f09c578a231be1411516e9dfff58; Ovetta Wiggins, “Hogan declares 30-day state of emergency as state enters its ‘most challenging time’ of the pandemic,” Washington Post, January 4, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2022/01/04/hogan-declares-emergency-coronavirus/; Paige Williams, “Mississippi’s Hospital System Is Rapidly Approaching Statewide Failure,” New Yorker, August 17, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/us-journal/mississippis-hospital-system-is-rapidly-approaching-statewide-failure; Daniel Wood and Geoff Brumfiel, “Pro-Trump counties now have far higher COVID death rates. Misinformation is to blame,” National Public Radio, December 5, 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/12/05/1059828993/data-vaccine-misinformation-trump-counties-covid-death-rate
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Doctors need to act like doctors,” Not Housebroken, February 6, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/12/30/centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention-doctors-need-to-act-like-doctors/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “The capitalist death cult,” Not Housebroken, January 11, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/03/27/the-capitalist-death-cult/

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 May 18, 2022, at end of post.


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

See update for May 19, 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.[1] Read more

  1. [1]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 May 18, 2022, at end of post.


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/