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      •  Sunday Mailbag

Sunday Mailbag

There may have been one story that dominated the news, and the mailbag, this week.

The War in Ukraine: Putin

K.S. in West Lafayette, IN, writes: I recently found something that I thought would be of interest to your readers. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has recently posted this tweet:

Throughout the ongoing war, Rubio has posted relatively accurate information. There was an article in 2020 from The Sun describing the Russian President's potential retirement due to Parkinson's. I watched Putin's speech live, and he seemed to be ranting and raving (relatively speaking) compared to his usual cold demeanor. If this is true, Joe Biden is most certainly aware of it and may be making decisions based on it. Your readers can make of this what they will.

M.P. in Waldorf, MD, writes: I think there is more to the invasion of Ukraine. As us readers know, or have figured out, Putin wants to remake the USSR. Have we considered that Putin might be terminally ill? Like with 6 months to live? Putin is just shy of his 70th birthday, with an average lifespan of a Russian male being 73. Being the main leader of any nation is stressful, and he has been at it since 1999. So taking the last two facts into consideration, its not outside of the bounds of possibility. If this is the case, maybe this is his swan song, and the end of his legacy, and wants to go out with a bang. Just a theory of mine, not based on any intelligence or anything reported in the mass media.

D.H. in Boston, MA, writes: I'd like to provide an additional lens for Putin's actions, including why he waited until now to invade Ukraine: Fossil fuels. I should note that I am a total amateur here, but their importance seems to me a likely explanation of some of Putin's actions. Fossil fuels have been a major part of the history of Russia and the Soviet Union over the past 100 years. Germany's need for oil led to its invasion of many places in World War II that it might otherwise have ignored, including southern Russia. One major reason for the downfall of the Soviet Union was that the U.S. convinced Saudi Arabia to produce more oil in 1986, causing the price to drop, thus depriving the Soviet Union of a major source of income and essentially bankrupting it.

Putin is aware of this history, of course. And Russia's economy is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, which I think helps to explain some of its actions in recent years. One reason for Russia's partnership with Syria is that Syria is in a position to block a natural gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe. It's in Russia's interest to dominate the supply of its product as much as possible, and it's clear it doesn't have principles about who it works with to do so.

So one reason (among many) why Ukraine is important to Russia is the natural gas pipelines that run through it to western Europe. It's now clear that Russia wanted to invade Ukraine, but one consequence was that Ukraine, with nothing left to lose, could cut the pipelines, depriving Russia of a critical source of revenue. Enter the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which bypasses Ukraine entirely. Construction on it finished last year. I think Putin needed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in place for financial reasons before he could invade Ukraine. It's not clear it will be used now, which could have been a miscalculation on Putin's part, but I think that was part of his reasoning. Anyway, I'm sure there are other reasons for the timing of the invasion, including some of which you've discussed, but I think it's important to include fossil fuels in the analysis.

D.G. in Montreal, QC, Canada, writes: One element of Putin's motivation that I have hardly seen discussed at all is that of water. When Russia took over Crimea, Ukraine responded by closing the canal that supplied most of the fresh water there. The Russians have been aware of this looming problem for years and have been trying to concoct solutions (desalinization, pipelines, etc.) But by far the easiest option is just to reopen the former water supply, which they did yesterday. I can't imagine this was the top motivation, but it certainly has to factor in, and might be in omen of wars to come fought over natural resources.

G.S. in Oakland, CA, writes: Isn't "Truth" (as in TFG's "Truth Social" website) English for "Pravda"? You don't suppose...?

M.H. in Seattle, WA, writes: I was a bit late to the podcast party because midterms, but now's a good time to plug an episode from the Lawfare Podcast, which has produced a few Ukraine-centered episodes this week and has re-released some of their older episodes from the last time Putin invaded Ukraine. Their guests are often career State Department and intelligence community officials, although they interviewed numerous DoJ folks during the Mueller investigation and fallout. Lots of expertise and good international perspective.

The War in Ukraine: The American Response

S.Z. in New Haven, CT, writes: In your response to J.E. in Boone, you wrote: "Further, the U.S. military is equipped with cutting-edge materiel, whereas a lot of the Russian stuff is way out of date."

You do know the age of the B-52 fleet, and the very low numbers of newer bombers, right? Have you recently looked at a table of U.S.A.F. aircraft that shows average age of the fleet of each aircraft type? If not, this is a quick read and easy to understand. Really scary.

V & Z respond: We do know; the reason the B-52 fleet isn't being replaced is because the manner in which warfare is conducted has changed. The tank fleet is rotting, too, because tanks are outmoded.

G.M. in Sydney, NSW, Australia, writes: You indicated that Russian oligarch money would be difficult to find because Russian money launderers operate in partnership with non-Russian bankers, real estate developers, brokerages, etc.

That's easy to address. Give the whistleblowers a 10% cut if they provide the proof and the funds/buildings/etc. are confiscated. Then prosecute their bosses.

C.M.W. in Myrtle Beach, SC, writes: S.R. in Auburn wrote: "Now, with a year of presidency under his belt, and in the face of midterm elections, Joe Biden has been able to demonstrate deft leadership and team building."

I'm sorry but that is some serious confirmation bias.

The midterms mentioned are ones his party is likely to lose at least one chamber of Congress, at least partly because he hasn't been able to get his own party on the same page (so much for team building) and what "deft leadership' has he shown?

People in Ukraine, including someone I am close to, are living in subways and stuff just to stay alive and his response has been... sanctions. I'm sure that makes them feel safer and like he has "deft leadership" when he has one of the mightiest militaries in the history of the world under his command.

I realize that a lot of this isn't his fault, and that the Ukraine situation is only a couple days old, and that compared to his predecessor he is doing amazing, and the main reason he was elected was to be "not Trump"... but let's not pretend that a generous C+ performance makes him a "deft leader."

C.M. in Plano, TX, writes: Recently, I rewatched a video by John Mearsheimer, Professor of Political Science at University of Chicago, about the Crimean invasion, as a primer for the current crisis. There is also a shorter update about the current crisis. I like this because it provides an intelligent and different perspective to the crisis.

Mearsheimer's main thesis is that this is a crisis of the U.S.'s making, with the U.S. committed enough to make the situation worse, but not so committed as to completely drive away Russia. Russia very committed to their unchanging position (no NATO in Ukraine, or Russia will destroy Ukraine, like it did Georgia). Russia doesn't really care what NATO and other European powers do, because they ultimately bend to the U.S.'s will. His solution for de-escalation is to commit to a truly neutral Ukraine. He also wishes that other Western powers (France and Germany in particular) would grow a bit more spine when working with the U.S.

He also maintains that this crisis is driving Russia closer to China, and he feels that if the U.S. wants to counter China in a long term balance of power play, the U.S. needs China to be more or less completely isolated. Power politics dictates that Russia (a close neighbor and significant enough military force) either needs to be neutral or on the side of the U.S., but pushing Russia's buttons in this way is completely shortsighted and makes Russia more likely to side with China, just to spite the U.S. He also thinks that the U.S. will have to rethink foreign policy as China grows and can effectively compete with the U.S. has a world power.

The talks really run contrary to the "Putin is crazy" or "Putin is Hitler v2.0" narratives that have been played in Western media and counter to the "Ukraine is supporting terrorism/attacking Russian citizens" in Russian media, so I figure there's some value here worth sharing, if nothing else to see a different viewpoint from a very educated and informed individual whose job is to understand much of this.

D.L. in Uslar, Germany, writes: Several times lately, you've tied the GOP's love affair with Vladimir Putin to the ascendancy of Donald Trump. That's really not the case. They've been making goo-goo eyes at Putin since some time during the Obama administration. It was largely a matter of comparing the bare-chested, horse-riding manly-man Putin to the effete Obama (as they saw it). A common refrain on Fox was that America needed a strong leader like Putin, rather than the pointy-headed intellectual it had. They hemmed and hawed a bit after the annexation of Crimea, but they did their best to praise the man and condemn his actions. (Or as James T. Kirk once said of Khan Noonien Singh: "We can be against him and admire him all at the same time.")

Trump may have accelerated matters, but the Republican fondness for authoritarian leaders long precedes his ride down the golden escalator.

M.K.S. in Gonzales, LA, writes: Regarding Tucker Carson "waving away the situation in Ukraine as a "border dispute," I have to wonder what his position would be if the government of Mexico sent a division or two of armed "peacekeepers" across the Rio Grande to occupy a 50-mile strip of Texas. All that land certainly used to be a sovereign part of Mexico, which parallels Putin's argument.

I also have to wonder whether Trump's publicly declared support of a country and its leader whom the Biden administration obviously considers "the enemy'' would be grounds for North Caroline barring him from their presidential ballot in 2024.

R.M.S. in Lebanon, CT, writes: As a Never-Sanders Democrat who voted for President Biden in the primary and the general elections, I think (Z) has been a bit too complimentary towards Biden's actions on January 23. I agree that Biden has done a good job of keeping NATO allies unified during the Ukraine invasion, and I agree that he has done a good job of implementing damaging sanctions against Russia. However, it is very clear that Biden's strategy of deterring Putin from invading has utterly failed. Biden and his team thought they could keep Putin from invading with the threat of sanctions and they were dead wrong. They need to be honest with the American public, admit they were mistaken, and come up with an alternative path forward to deal with this crisis.

I will also add it's not just Donald Trump and his allies in right-wing media who are being deferential and/or complimentary towards Putin. There are people on the far left who are acting as Putin apologists. Sanders, whose presidential campaigns were supported by Putin, recently published a letter to The Guardian (UK) under the headline "We must do everything possible to avoid an enormously destructive war in Ukraine." He called for diplomacy to resolve the Ukraine crisis. This is absurd. Does the Vermont senator know that Putin is already in violation of prior deals we negotiated with Russia about Ukraine? In 1994, the U.S. and the U.K. signed an agreement with Russia and Ukraine. The deal states that all parties involved would respect Ukraine's sovereignty in exchange for Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons located on its soil. France signed a separate but similar agreement with both countries. Why does Sanders believe diplomacy with Russia would be beneficial when, since 2014, they have been in violation of prior promises they made?

Former Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard was recently on Tucker Carlson's show, where she blamed NATO for the invasion. She implied that Putin had been provoked into attacking Ukraine because NATO and Ukraine had talked about the idea of Ukraine joining the alliance. She conveniently forgets to mention the history of abuses Russia has committed against Ukraine and says nothing about Putin's homicidal personality. She should understand that most Ukranians don't want to live under his leadership.

I think there is a third option that NATO could pursue that doesn't involve negotiation or a ground invasion: creating a no-fly zone over Ukraine. President Biden hasn't discussed this, but I think creating a no-fly zone is the best way for us to protect Ukrainian civilians. I, along with most Americans, do not want to put boots on the ground in Ukraine and this is a viable alternative that won't get U.S. forces bogged down in an occupation. When Russia became involved in the Syrian Civil War, they bombed civilian areas like apartment buildings and hospitals. I'm sure they will do the same in Ukraine and I wouldn't be surprised if 100,000 civilians were killed this year unless someone deters their bombing.

The War in Ukraine: The International Response

J.B. in Hutto, TX, writes: When Nelson Mandela died, I remember thinking that we might never again see a truly heroic statesman on the world stage. Volodymyr Zelensky has proven me wrong in these last few days. How can anyone not watch these historic events unfold and not be inspired by his example? He has proven himself a man of unbelievable courage, willing to risk almost certain death to defend his nation and fight for democracy against autocracy. He could have fled to safety—the United States even offered to help him escape, yet he has chosen to remain in Kyiv and share the fate of his people. I can only pray that this remarkable man survives this war and, when the guns fall silent, he is still the leader of a free Ukraine.

E.M. in Milwaukee, WI, writes: Political Wire pointed me to an article in the The Bulwark by Jonathan Last that makes a point I had been feeling, but not articulating. Last asserts, and I agree, that we may be seeing the transformation of Volodymyr Zelensky from an unexpected comedian-turned-politician to an inspiring national symbol. He has shown tremendous personal courage, walking the nighttime streets of Kyiv with his leadership team and, perhaps foolishly, live-streaming an exhortation to defend the city and the nation. (Can you say, "Send the missile to my cell phone, please?"?) He has refused an offer to fly into exile and instead calls for delivery of ammunition. Vladimir Putin has in the past provided staged videos of manly acts, but he now huddles in bunkers for fear of COVID and who knows what other threats.

I fear that Zelensky may not be long for this world, while hoping that I am wrong. I would prefer that he would run a government-in-exile from Lviv or Vienna or Berlin, rather than to have him be martyred. My feelings may be wrong, but I feel nearly certain that Zelensky has already strengthened Ukrainian nationalism to the point that only profound Russian brutality will have any hope for maintaining an occupation. That would be a horrendous thing to witness, but I also doubt that Russia is capable of sustaining that occupation long enough to pacify the nation.

T.R. in Exeter, England, UK, writes: In the context of Western Europe's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine you wrote: "Of the current and former EU members, the one that has been least assertive is actually the U.K., where the response has been a bit flaccid."

This is true of the UK's response on Tuesday to Russia declaring Donetsk and Luhansk independent states, but following the actual invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, the response has been much stronger. See two articles from The Guardian, here and here. From the latter: "[Boris] Johnson wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. So he followed up his tough words on Putin with equally tough sanctions. Dozens of companies and individuals would have their assets frozen... He also made it clear that the U.K. had been pushing the E.U. and other NATO countries to block Russia from the Swift international money transfer system—something the E.U. and the U.S. were so far reluctant to do."

The U.K. has also been ahead of other European countries in arming Ukraine, as noted by The Wall Street Journal.

R.O. in Manchester, England, UK, writes: The British government's response to the Ukraine situation has, as you note, been "a bit flaccid." This isn't due to Boris Johnson's own precarious grip on power, however. A sharp reponse to the Russians would be a pretty good move in U.K. domestic politics, since even the opposition party are supportive of harsh measures. And there's a great deal of noise being made about the relatively minor sanctions that have been imposed; the government would very much like us to believe sanctions on 5 minor banks and 3 individuals is at least as powerful a move as the E.U.'s much more significant package.

Instead, this relatively piddling response is largely down to the ruling Conservative Party's heavy reliance on funding from a number of the Russian oligarchs (along with London's equally heavy reliance on laundering Russian money as a major revenue stream and propping up house prices—a very British obsession). It's going to be interesting to see how this interacts with Johnson's other myriad scandals; it doesn't take a lot of digging to find pictures of various Tory grandees standing with oligarchs or substantial Russian-connected donations to the party (often with benefits attached—private tennis matches with the PM, or direct access to senior ministers) which would be very embarrassing in the circumstances, and the weak regime of sanctions offered has almost certainly been carefully arranged to avoid hitting anyone overtly plugged in to U.K. politics.

G.A. in Berkeley, CA, writes: As detailed in Winston Churchill's history of the years leading up to World War II, Adolf Hitler excelled at understanding the extent to which he could progressively violate post-WWI military and arms control agreements without prompting a military response from potential adversaries. Vladimir Putin seems to have this same ability. Everyone, with the possible exception of the Ukrainian government, could see Russia's attack on Ukraine developing, despite Putin's repeated denials. They even understood, and still understand, Putin's intention to reconstitute and dominate as much as possible of the former Soviet Union. Non-NATO countries in Russia's neighborhood are at risk. Indeed, Putin has already warned neighboring Finland against joining NATO.

Yet the world's response to Russia's invasion has been limited to public relations and paltry economic steps. As the parties know, a U.N. security council resolution condemning Russia (for what that's worth) will simply be vetoed by Russia. NATO's increase in the number of troops sent to European countries is irrelevant; Putin is not going to attack a NATO country and risk nuclear war, particularly not right now. Economic sanctions on Putin and his equally corrupt friends won't matter; they are rich and their funds are mostly not tied to western countries. Economic sanctions on Russia may harm ordinary Russians, but Putin has already taken this into account and believes that he can prevent the effects from undermining his regime. Germany and other European countries have so far refused to bar Russia's use of the SWIFT international payment system or halt purchases of Russian fossil fuels, and even those steps might not matter much. (And, while the 5,000 helmets that Germany has sent to Ukraine will look pretty on the heads of dead Ukrainians, this donation has produced nothing but mockery. One hopes that Chancellor Olaf Scholz is not contemplating a new Ribbentrop-Molotov agreement.)

Meanwhile, China has already agreed to buy Russian (and now, perhaps, Ukrainian) wheat and undoubtedly will be delighted to buy as much Russian oil and gas as offered. The use of virtual currency will also help Putin counter the economic moves of the West.

What happens now in Ukraine? The Ukrainian military is no match for the Russian military. The only action that might help a bit at this point would be a fast and large transfer of materiel to Ukraine. Or perhaps the delivery of a million pistols with 50 bullets each to civilians in Ukrainian cities, with additional instructions about use of rope, clubs, and knives on individual Russian soldiers after the impending occupation. But more than likely, the democratically elected government is finished, and Ukraine will once again suffer autocratic Russian domination.

What happens now in the world at large? Years ago, Ukraine voluntarily surrendered its nuclear weapons in exchange for security guarantees. This bought them the loss of Crimea to Russia in 2014, and now the impending loss of some or all of the remainder of their country. What conclusion can Kim Jong-Un, Iran, and others possibly draw about the value of security guarantees without nuclear weapons? What will be the response of third-world countries and the waning western democracies to the evolving tri-polar world of the declining US and the rising, autocratic China and Russia?

M.E. in John's Creek, GA, writes: In your response to the question from S.S. regarding how other nations are responding to the Russian invasion, you failed to mention Finland and Sweden. For decades these two nations have had close ties to NATO, but have resisted actually joining the alliance. Primarily this is because of public opinion. In the past, for example, only about 24% of Finns supported joining, but this seems to have changed drastically with the invasion of Ukraine. It's quite possible that Putin's actions may actually create the very situation he was trying to preempt: a significant NATO presence on his doorstep.

B.K. in Dallas, TX, writes: I have heard that even the Taliban are pushing for more diplomacy over the Ukraine. Of course, the Afghans have had their own experience with Russia (well, the USSR).

The War in Ukraine: They Were There

J.R. in Radauti, Romania (the wandering American formerly in Vinnytsia, Ukraine), writes: Like many American fools, I take chances in life. I know most of the world did not expect Vladimir Putin to go almost all in, but I was in a position for things to go very bad if he did. So, on hearing the news early Thursday in Ukraine, my partner made calls and within 2 hours a guy she knew through a friend was willing to drive me the roughly 300 km to the nearest Romanian border crossing (with wartime pricing of course).

Departed at 9 a.m. Traffic delays and a 4-hour wait for gas got me 5 km from the border by around 8 p.m. The cars were backed up this far and I am sure the wait to get to the border by car would have been at least 12 hours. In my hour walk, I don't think I saw one car move until I was within 100m of the border gate. At the border there were a few hundred people on foot. Not a good scene—some people pushing and yelling, children crying, below freezing weather, etc. The guards were all armed with military rifles and yelled at the crowd to back off of the gate. They let in a few people at a time and made preference (as good Ukrainians do) for people traveling with small children first. Ukrainian men of fighting age were not allowed to leave as it was their job to stay and fight the Russians. I stood and waited in the cold, and 2 hours later I was into passport control (Ukrainian and then Romanian) and an hour after that my overpriced taxi was dropping me off at a hotel I had reserved online 12 hours prior. It was a very difficult day for me—a guy in my late 50s—but for me it was just one harsh day. For Ukrainians, this Putin chosen war will be so much worse. That crazy dictator is ruining, to varying degrees, the lives of 200,000,000 people.

E.G. in Patchogue, NY, writes: Nearly 20 years ago, I moved to Moscow to help run a high school exchange program for students to live with American host families for an academic year, sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. All the kids wanted to be placed in Hawaii, but they truly went everywhere—from Alaska (and Hawaii) to Florida, Maine and everywhere in between! Seeing them leave and then return was so amazing because their perception of the world had changed so much in such a short time. I was barely ready to study abroad in my early 20s, and was always impressed that these young 17-18 year old students were fearless and thrived through their experiences. It really was a sad day when Vladimir Putin kicked out Peace Corps and then many other non-profits, including the company I had worked for. I had first-hand experience how much good these groups were doing. Putin was methodically consolidating power. Young people who have no idea about the world won't grow up to be adults who challenge Putin's policies or become political activists or opponents. (Incidentally, that year my NGO left Russia, all of the 350 high school scholarships earmarked for Russia were given to Ukraine, if I remember correctly.)

I also lived in Kyiv for about 6 weeks due to an unexpectedly prolonged Russian visa processing time. I was honestly disappointed when it all got resolved. From my personal perspective, the difference between Ukraine and Russia is as stark as night and day. While I was there, the weather was warmer in Ukraine and people were just seemingly generally nicer and more open. My general impression—especially of Muscovites—is that they are extremely tough and generally harsh. I am a straight arrow, and was fluent in Russian at that point, but was always getting yelled at for one silly thing or another. Everyone talks about how warm the Russian people are once you get to know them, and I concur, but there is something to be said of just being nice to begin with. Looking back, I definitely felt like attitudes towards America/Americans were cooling in the time I lived in Russia. I can't imagine what it's like now! It seemed to me that Russians wanted to see their country be great again, and they looked back on Soviet times with rose-colored glasses. It didn't help that Western-style democracy and capitalism were (are) imperfect systems, which created a lot of disillusionment for most Russians I met.

All of this to say that I am incredibly sad and disappointed about the invasion, but also the general BS Ukraine has had to put up with for years. They just seem to always be getting the short end of the stick! They haven't been formally admitted into NATO, Russia's annexation of Crimea, the Trump administration's corruption and specifically Trump's authoritarian tendencies, to now: a completely unjustified attack and hostile take-over, probably within hours. I can only hope that decades of Ukrainian progress will be sustained and give them fortitude for whatever comes next. Also that NATO will do more to help. Will sanctions really do the trick? I don't even want to think what will happen if Zelenskyy is captured/arrested. After the Crimea land grab, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but Putin was probably busy with Trump—like a cat playing with a mouse. While I have experience with both countries, Ukraine will always have my heart.

The War in Ukraine: Historical Context

K.B. in El Dorado, AR, writes: Some commentators have been comparing the war in Ukraine to the situation with Czechoslovakia in 1938. However, as a historian, that analogy simply does not fit here. The Allies in the case of Ukraine are giving weapons to Ukraine and have never considered allowing Russia to annex the Crimea or the Donbas region. If we were to extend this situation to a pre-World War II analogy, the situation would be closer to Ethiopia in 1935.

Consider that Italy was still a significant power and had been working with the western Allies since World War I in spite of the fascism of Benito Mussolini. Mussolini for some time had talked of restoring the Roman Empire in some fashion. Italy had targeted Ethiopia in the late 1800s and been defeated. When Mussolini invaded in 1935, the reaction of the Allies was swift. The move was condemned, Mussolini and Italy became pariahs, and there was international support for Ethiopian resistance. Though Italy ultimately was able to occupy Ethiopia, it was weakened because of it. As a result, they turned to Hitler's Germany for support, allying with the Nazis by the next year.

Whether Russia succeeds in the short term or not with its war against Ukraine is not yet certain, but it already has faced sanctions, severe international condemnation, and it stands to be weakened economically and militarily with a costly effort in a Ukraine that is determined to resist to the end. The world is increasingly standing with Ukraine and not walking away as the Allies did with Czechoslovakia. In the aftermath, a weakened Russia may turn increasingly to China as an economic and military partner even though it will be the junior partner in that relationship, just as Mussolini's Italy was in relation to Nazi Germany.

T.J.R. in Metuchen, NJ, writes: Don't know if you or your readers have ever seen this, but it is something you and they may enjoy:

It is a video, 11-3/4 minutes long, showing the map of Europe every year from 400 BC to 2017, one year at a time. It is fascinating to see how fungible the borders were though time, how countries come into being, grow, move around, shrink. and oftentimes disappear.

A.A. in Kingwood, TX, writes: As someone who grew up in Brazil, I still remember when the military dictatorship in Argentina was losing its grip, and the generals decided to invade the Falklands to foster a sense of patriotism.

I know how it ended—and I hope it ends the same way for Putin.

R.H. in Santa Ana, CA, writes: We don't know what Franklin D. Roosevelt would have done about Murdoch's Fifth Column, of course, but we do know what he did about Father Coughlin. After Coughlin used his national radio broadcast to extol Nazi Germany and excoriate the Jews during World War II, he was de-platformed by CBS Radio network and banned from using the U.S. Mail to distribute printed material.


E.D. in Saddle Brook, NJ, writes: J.N. in Columbus wrote about being a centrist, and used bathroom bills as an example policy to describe being a centrist. J.N.'s example of a "militant centrist" shows why that position isn't viable in the political world. The stance makes sense, but misses both the practical concerns and the political dynamics of the issue.

I doubt that many people on either side would object to making public bathrooms designed for single people. Most would probably even prefer it. Does anyone really want an audience while they poop? It's not a very practical solution, though. The vast majority of public bathrooms already in existence are designed for multiple people, due to both cost and space concerns. Settling the issue by declaring that all public bathrooms must be redesigned would not be a practical solution. Making a rule that only applies to new construction would not solve the existing problems.

The other dynamic that J.N. is missing is that a significant number Republicans don't actually care about the bathrooms. They just want to exert dominance over a minority group. The cruelty is the entire point. They are 100% aware of the issues at hand and chose their stance to make things worse. Absolutely no compromise would be OK with that group. I prefer to think they're a small percentage, but it's not the kind of thing that people like to admit in public, so we don't really know how big this group is. Unfortunately this group is extremely vocal and tends to drive the overall direction of the party.

D.C. in Brentwood, CA, writes: You wrote: "Another theory is that Republicans and Democrats have self-sorted, for various reasons, into 'more affected by appeals to emotion' (Republicans) and 'less affected by appeals to emotion' (Democrats)." I'd like to see evidence of this, because I see it more as the members of each party are each affected by different kinds of appeals to different kinds of emotions. Democrats getting involved in BLM events are certainly swayed by appeals to emotion, for example, but they're appeals for empathy. Republicans, on the other hand, and as a generalization, tend to go for appeals to anger. Both groups appear to feel extreme righteousness, hence empathy-based movements can still appear very angry.

V & Z respond: We were being a little general, but what the studies actually suggest (though it's not a consensus) is that conservatives are more swayed by appeals to fear.

D.G. in Los Angeles, CA, writes: In your item "While Congress Is Deadlocked, the States Are Moving--Backward," you list the following items.

  • Ban or restrict abortion
  • Limit access to voting
  • Ban books they don't like
  • Retrench transgender rights
  • Constrain teachers' ability to discuss race and sexual orientation
  • Install cameras in classrooms so political officials can monitor teachers' compliance
  • Remove existing restrictions on gun ownership and use
  • Increase penalties for engaging in a protest
  • Empower private citizens to bring lawsuits to enforce these items

To summarize it in two words, this is Authoritarian Fascism masquerading as democratic law making.

Not much different from what Mussolini did in Italy, Franco did in Spain, and the ultimate example—Germany in the 1930s (don't want to mention the name.)

I can't understand why the Democratic leadership and their followers aren't shouting from every rooftop the word "Fascists! Fascists!" Even if not a precise description, who would know?

That is a much scarier word than "Socialists," isn't it?

M.M. in Columbus, OH, writes: I noticed that Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) full-out abhors any of that dirty federal intervention in American affairs, particularly all the evil Socialism. I wonder if he felt that way when he was raking in all those socialistic healthcare dollars from Medicare/Medicaid when he was in private business?

J.M. in Portland, OR, writes: One thing that struck me as I was looking at the photo of the well-armed Eric Greitens and reflecting on all the other photos we've seen of Republicans holding their favorite weapons, is that all those guns and bullets are not meant to hold off an invasion by Russia or China but to kill other Americans. Doesn't matter if it's jackbooted Federal agents/soldiers or just the liberal down the street, the people they expect to be shooting with those guns are their fellow citizens.

M.M. in San Diego, CA, writes: The photo from Eric Greitens' campaign from Thursday's post—I assume it's a screen capture from a video and not a still photograph. If it is a still, the campaign's photo editor needs to be shown the door because of that niggling little bit of forced perspective. Sure, Eric's bicep and forearm are bulging, but look at that itty, bitty little hand—it's so tiny, how can it hold on to that giant, powerful firearm?

A.H. in Monterey, MA, writes: Have you considered the possibility that at least some of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's (D-AZ) behavior can be explained by her previous career as a social worker?

In my view, she thinks of her constituents as her clients, and consequently considers herself both to be entitled to decide what's best for them and to be without any obligation to provide them or the reporters who ask questions on their behalf with an explanation of her actions and decisions.

R.V. in Pittsburgh, PA, writes: Alvin Bragg only assumed the Manhattan DA position about 6 weeks ago, and before spring training baseball begins, he basically refuses to charge Trump. This is eerily similar to Bill Barr; no sooner than he was confirmed as AG in 2019, the Mueller investigation wound down. Then Barr went in front of a podium to announce to the world that Trump was exonerated.

I think Bragg is at best just way over his head at his job, and at worst he's as corrupt as they come.

Frank Serpico should give Alvin Bragg a long talk about what courage is...

All Politics Is Local

M.D.H. in Coralville, IA, writes: As you noted in discussing the primary challengers facing Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Utah is not a typical red state because they don't much like Trump. Their other senator, of course, not only voted to remove Trump from office but made an impassioned speech urging his colleagues to join him in doing so.

But I'd like to call your attention to an enormously under-appreciated difference between Utah and other red states: They have had far fewer COVID-19 deaths per capita than most U.S. States (either red or blue), both before and after widespread vaccinations.

The states that have had few deaths both before and after shots were easily available include Hawaii, Vermont, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Maine, and Utah. Those are either blue states or they are states with a very un-Trumpy Republican Senator.

High-density East Coast blue states were hit hard early in the pandemic, then did much better. Many red states were largely spared early on, but have been hit very hard since vaccinations became common. Not many states did well both before and after shots became available.

While the factors affecting a pandemic are many and complex and not well understood, the fact that states with especially un-Trumpy Republicans makes me wonder what might have been. Had Republicans been more willing to work together with Democrats, might a few hundred thousand more Americans still be alive?

B.J. in McMurray, PA, writes: I read your site regularly, and occasionally an item hits home. I live in Pennsylvania, so I looked at the new map with interest. I can certainly accept the non-gerrymandered map and a 9-8 delegation (either way), as both reflect the electorate quite well. But for me, I object to my district. I live in Peters Township, Washington County, 14th District. Peters is a suburb of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and borders Allegheny. People in Peters have much more in common with either of the districts that split Allegheny than they do with people in Indiana and Somerset Counties. The rest of Washington County, Greene County, Westmoreland County and Fayette County are reasonable fits with Indiana and Somerset. Note that Westmoreland County areas considered to be Pittsburgh suburbs are included in the 12th district, so splitting counties like this is not always a problem.

W.K.D. in Houston, TX, writes: Just to demonstrate that I'm not above conspiratorial home team thinking, I was intrigued by your Abby Broyles item and I read up on it a little bit. There is now absolutely no doubt in my mind that this was a premeditated political hit. She was invited to this slumber party under false pretenses, plied with alcohol and drugged, after which she allegedly made very weird out-of-character remarks that coincidentally would enrage only left-wing Democrats but no one else. Oh, and further coincidentally, no adult is alleged to have heard the remarks and the accuser is an unimpeachable 13-year-old girl because really is a Democratic political candidate going to call a 13-year-old girl a liar? The whole thing is an absolutely brilliant ploy that could only have been conceived of by the most evil and cunning Republican dirty trickster, suggesting that Lee Atwater isn't really dead. It suggests to me that someone in D.C. actually was scared that Broyles could win. A scheme of this level of brilliance had to require serious Republican resources and brain power.

D.S. in Jackson, MN, writes: I am a long-time reader but have never contacted you but after reading your item on Jim Hagedorn, I felt I needed to do so. I am a resident of MN-1 and due to a previous career, knew Jim personally. Yes, he was very Trumpy, but he did care about the people in his district.

I am a registered independent (primarily due to career choice) but definitely lean to the left. While MN-1 may be R+8 (which I would question), Hagedorn defeated DFL candidate Dan Feehan by less than 1% in 2018 and by just 3% in 2020. Prior to that, it was held for several cycles by Tim Walz, who is a Democrat and vacated the seat to run for, and become our Governor.

This should be a great opportunity for the Democrats to pick up a seat in 2022.

J.M. in Silver Spring, MD, writes: I had the interesting experience of receiving my first ever push poll yesterday. After asking some general questions, the young lady proceeded to start asking me my reactions to various "statements" about County Executive Marc Elrich's (D-Montgomery County) intent to close a waste incinerator and the effects that would have. At one point, I laughed and said, "yeah, and it will cause people not to like puppies!". We both knew it was a push-poll and it was silly.

I thank for educating me on what a push poll is.

Trans Action

M.A. in Park Ridge, IL, writes: I am an old, straight, white guy who went to law school with Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX). He wasn't anywhere near this much of an ass**le when we were at Vanderbilt.

(Z) tells it like it is. Rock on!

M.S. in Harrisonburg, VA, writes: I have been reading your site almost from the beginning, and look forward to reading it every day. I wanted to commend you for the piece on Greg Abbott's horrific targeting of trans youth in Texas. You do a good job not injecting your personal views on most issues, but I agree with you that what is going on in Texas needs to be called out for what it is. Every thinking/feeling person should be outraged at how they are endangering a vulnerable group to advance their pathetic political careers. Thank you.

D.S. in Fort Collins, CO, writes: Thank you very much for making a strong and clear statement in support of trans youth and against the heartless directive issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week. As an avid regular reader, I know that you've caught flak at times for not carefully both-sides-ing every political issue, as many in the media are wont to do. But there are legitimate political disagreements and there is—as you put it—"unfettered and callous cruelty," and while I read your site in large part to better understand the former, I'm eternally grateful you are willing to denounce the latter as needed. I only wish that other media outlets were similarly willing to call out such shameful and harmful political grandstanding, but it does make me happy (and, honestly, a little proud) that I've found yours.

V & Z respond: We thank all three of you for the kind words, and are of course glad you liked the piece. Not all readers felt that way, of course. Read on.

P.S. in Plano, TX, writes: I'd like to offer a different perspective regarding Greg Abbott. If you read the memo, it asserts that the following procedures are child abuse under existing Texas law:

  1. sterilization through castration, vasectomy, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, metoidioplasty, orchiectomy, penectomy, phalloplasty, and vaginoplasty
  2. mastectomies
  3. removing from children otherwise healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue
  4. Providing, administering, prescribing, or dispensing drugs to children that induce transient or permanent infertility, including puberty-suppression or puberty-blocking drugs, supraphysiologic doses of testosterone to females, supraphysiologic doses of estrogen to males

Even most liberal advocates for trans rights do not believe sex change surgeries should be performed on children, so the only really controversial part of this would be #4 above, applying to puberty suppression and chemical transitioning. It is true that some practitioners believe these treatments are justified in certain cases. It's also true, though, as the memo states, that peer-reviewed studies suggest that most children will eventually spontaneously desist in identifying as transgender. And it is undoubtedly true that there are extremely sick parents who would pressure their children to "be" the gender of the child they wanted rather than the child they got, and extremely corrupt or clueless physicians who would assist them.

I recognize that there are no currently effective medical treatments able to assist those people who are unable to accept their bodies as they were created except for treatments which chemically or surgically mutilate their bodies in order to make them superficially similar to the bodies they wish they had. I even recognize that, for at least a few children, the treatments Abbott is asserting are child abuse would be beneficial. However, if those treatments are allowed, some children who would spontaneously desist on their own will be harmed. Additionally, I know of children who are fine, but annoying to their parents, who have been pacified by harmful and unnecessary psychiatric medication prescribed by corrupt or clueless physicians. For this reason, I am quite certain there will also be children who are fine but not what their parents wanted who will be harmed as well. For these reasons, I think banning puberty blockers and artificial hormones for those under 18 is a valid political decision.

I don't know if courts will agree that these treatments are actually banned under existing law, but that's what courts are for, after all. I also don't know what's in Greg Abbott's heart, but neither does (Z).

V & Z respond: When Abbott issues this directive the week before an election, and all the professionals to whom he is directing his order promptly announce they will not abide by it, it's pretty easy to figure out what his intent was.

L.E. in Putnam County, NY, writes: While (Z) has swallowed the transgenderist narrative hook, line, sinker, reel, rod, and tacklebox, I continue to maintain that, however reprehensible the Texas laws on abortion are, that state has managed the periodic rectitude of a stopped clock in its just criminalization of facilitating the poisoning, mutilation, and brainwashing of "trans youth" (whose desires and needs are polar opposites where "trans-ness" is concerned). An evaluation of the issues more measured than mine can be found here, where the author points out that the suicide numbers (Z) cites are unreliable, and that the only real "trans rights" are a matter of protection from the alterations it is clear mental illness to seek. There is no cruelty in obstructing self-destruction, however much resentment it may provoke. (And what about laws like Canada's that forbid the parent to do anything but assist a "trans" child's self-destruction?..."Do parents know,or don't they?")

V & Z respond: We rarely have trouble deciding which letters to run, but we pondered over this one (and the one above) for a fair piece of time, and even consulted with several trans readers about the general question of "does this illustrate attitudes that people should be aware of, or does it merely afford a platform for someone who shouldn't have one?" Note that these readers only consulted on the general question, and did not see any letters before publication.

In any event, obviously we did decide to run the letter. And we'll leave it to the readers to decide if they want to respond or not. However, (Z) will point out one thing. He was first educated about trans issues by a nationally renowned expert on sexuality and sexual violence who is most definitely not trans (though he IS Canadian). Your source, meanwhile, flunked out of her Ph.D. program in environmental psychology, and then flunked out of her Master's program in urban planning.

S.S-L. in Norman, OK, writes: In response to A.B. in Wendell, who wrote "I truly believe that society has largely decided that we trans are the last and only minority group that it is still okay to crap on .. we are the ones least likely to have legal recourse when we do suffer injustice/discrimination, and we also are the ones least likely to have others stand up for us."

I can relate. As a blind person in a painfully ableist world, I found myself just today banned from a business on the basis of my blindness. The owner didn't even pretend to have another reason. Most blind people would never have the opportunity to do anything about it. Sure, we have rights in theory, but in practice, your rights are only as good as their enforcement. Very, very few attorneys will take this kind of case. It's not sensational enough to make sweeping change, there's no money in it, and, if we're being honest, most non-disabled folks assume staying out of the way is basically in our and everybody else's best interest. When our rights are violated, even the organizations created to protect us simply don't. The DoJ isn't about to investigate two blind people being banned from a business because our blindness makes the owner uncomfortable. (Her exact words.) The ACLU doesn't care. Even our so-called 'Advocacy and Protection Organization' wouldn't consider it a big enough fish to fry. If anything, we're expected to be grateful that we're allowed to exist in the world at all. Standing up for ourselves is met with much clutching of pearls and rendering of garments. SMH.

Legal Matters

J.K. in Portland, OR, writes: The Greedy Obfuscating Protofascists are on Joe Biden's case for stating that he will select a Black woman as the next justice of the Supreme Court (it may have happened when this is printed). They claim that restricting the search so narrowly is un-American. Well, when was the last time a Republican president elevated somebody who wasn't Catholic? Working backwards, we have Comey, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Alito, Roberts, Thomas, Souter (an exception and considered by the GOP to have been a really bad error), Kennedy, Scalia, O'Connor. 9 out of 10 might indicate somewhat of a trend, eh? When 23% of the population gets 90% of the elevations, you don't have to have a Ph.D. in statistics to believe this is not random.

P.S. in Gloucester, MA, writes: Somebody tell J.A. in Brisbane that the Dread Pirate Roberts's current venture is running our Supreme Court.

I Didn't Read the News Today, Oh Boy

D.T. in San Jose, CA, writes: You recently had an item about the drop off in news consumption among Democrats.

It was implied that this followed a typical pattern, where young progressives only get interested during presidential election years, but then tune out afterwards. Respectfully, I think you are overlooking the far more obvious explanation: News consumption is down, because there is less chaos under the current administration.

In 2020, America was still being led by a cartoon villain. Every day we lurched from one crisis to the next, constantly watching Twitter for the next outrageous announcement. People needed to remain vigilant.

In 2021, there has been somewhat of a return to normalcy, at least concerning the White House. Departments are run by competent, boring professionals. For most of the year, you could pretty consistently describe every week with the same headline: "Nothing was accomplished, because Joe Manchin said 'No.'"

Trump himself accurately predicted this phenomenon. He warned journalists that Biden would be worse for TV ratings. He was right; people consume less news when the president isn't actively trying to stir up new problems.

F.S. in Idaho Falls, ID, writes: In my opinion, young people drop out of the news cycle because life is busier than ever. I'm retired now, but when I was building my career and forming my life, certain areas didn't need my attention. I trusted professionals to do their job. It seems now that I need to be my own local authority on health care, finances and electronic gadgets, to name a few. I monitor insurance policies to get the benefits entitled to me, I need to be rather intimately involved with how markets work in order to make the best decisions for myself whether or not I have a financial advisor, and I need to maintain and upgrade multiple electronics regularly. For if I don't, my insurance company interjects itself into conversations with my doctors in an effort to give me the least amount of care, financial advisors have agendas that may not match my goals or risk tolerance, and I end up with a laptop that cannot reap the benefits of fiber (but I'm not bitter). These are all complicated systems that I didn't need to concern myself with when younger, I could rely on the advice from professionals. I don't have that luxury any more. This is why people become disinterested in the news, because life requires more diligence.


T.B.S.S. in Silver Spring, MD, writes: When seeking an alternative to "woke," I recommend considering the word as part of a continuum of phrases designed to rebrand empathy as a vice. "Politically correct" goes back at least three decades, for example, while "bleeding-heart liberal" goes back even further; both, like "treehugger" and related pejoratives, are exceptionally effective ways to make compassion and concern seem sinister.

I've rarely seen a use of the phrase "political correctness" that couldn't be replaced by the word "empathy," just to hammer home the absurdity of it all. But I also concede that modern-day "wokeness," or at least the variety we're discussing here, isn't always virtuous—or, for that matter, empathetic. It can easily devolve into preening, pointless, off-putting displays of virtue-signaling judginess; it creates circular firing squads; it too often fails to leave space for redemption or mercy.

The phrase I've come to favor, in lieu of "wokeness," is "performative empathy," which acknowledges an undercurrent of good intentions—a desire to consider the wishes of others—while also emphasizing the ways in which those intentions can get twisted into self-congratulatory theater.

L.F. in Edina, MN, writes: In response to the readers who wrote about the use of "woke" and "wokeness," I direct you to this November 2021 essay by Michael Harriot, writing for The Root. He sources the term from the segregated 1940s, as a warning from and to Black men in danger from whites. He points to a 2016 essay for the current (white use) of the term:

[Amanda Hess' 2016] definition was created by and for white people, in direct opposition to the term's original intent—a warning to Black people about white people. By co-opting and transforming 'woke' into a beacon for self-congratulatory allyship, white wokeness had been reversed-engineered into the actual thing that Black people needed to stay woke about.

You may also want to note his definitions of other touchy terms. Don't read him if you are easily offended; do read him for a different, somewhat inflammatory, perspective.

Word Games

F.C. in DeLand, FL, writes: Your readers listed a bunch of interesting word things in last Sunday's letters. If they're interested in a more in-depth look at English, you might want to mention the History of English Podcast, which digs into many similar issues while working its way through the history of the language. They've made it to the early 1500s after about 150 episodes.

No, it's not a political podcast at all.

Q.S. in Holly Springs, NC, writes: Reading the Sunday mailbag section where several interesting English language word quirks were mentioned made me want to dine this evening on a heaping helping of ghoti.

J.K., Silverdale, WA, writes: Thanks to D.E. in Ann Arbor, MI for the word puzzle: "Add two letters to 'Trump' and two letters to 'Biden.' Now, the letters in each name can be rearranged into an appetizer you might order at an ethnic restaurant. Hint: Of the two letters you add to each word, one is the same letter in both cases..."

The answers I came up with are Tempura and Bean Dip, which fittingly, don't go well together at all.

For a little extra fun, here's an insomnia-induced palindrome I came up with that's clearly a Canadian question: "Eh, did Harpo Marx ram Oprah? Did he?"

S.G. in Newark, NJ, writes: Tempura and Hindbeh are good to eat!

V & Z respond: True, but that's an "a" and "e" added to "Trump," and an "h" and another "h" added to "Biden," so doesn't fulfill the "same letter" condition...

P.F. in Wixom, MI, writes: These took about 10 seconds and ten minutes, respectively, to produce:

  1. "ufa": "manufacture" and any related word (manufacturing, manufactured, manufacturer, manufactures, manufacturers, manufacturable)
  2. "und": 'underfund'

D.L. in Springfield, IL, writes: Word beginning and ending in "und"" is underground.

Here's another word puzzle: There's a very common word of one syllable that, if you add just one letter to it, becomes a three-syllable word. What are the two words?

I.K. in Portland, OR, writes: Your discussion about the word "bookkeeping" reminded me of one of my favorite riddles, which is almost impossible to solve.

What eight-letter English word has the three letters kst in the middle, in the beginning, and at the end?

I'm wondering if any of your (obviously intelligent) readers can figure it out. No fair if someone told you the answer, or if you search the Internet for it.

V & Z respond: Readers, as always, should feel free to send in their guesses to this question and/or the one above. We'll run the answers next week.

Gallimaufry: Chess Edition

N.Z. in Seattle, WA, writes: On Monday, a virtual friend and fellow reader of pointed out that you used a chess pun in the day's post. I must have skimmed that article, so I went back to read. This friend I met a year ago through, when I commented on a past set of chess puns. Through the Q&A, I extended an invite to your readers to play me in a friendly daily game on I still play daily with a small handful of those companions and would like once again to open the board to new challengers. My username is ShelleyBeatsKeats (because he does) and I look forward to some new games.

You also made mention of Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, who recently became five-time World Chess Champion after winning several enthralling and record breaking matches against Ian "Nepo" Nepomniachtchi. Worth noting that Nepo was born in Soviet Russia and lives in Russia, but he competes under the flag of "The Chess Federation of Russia." I would not attribute Nepo's loss to the flag he was playing under, but maybe there is hope that sanctions do work.

J.C. in Oxford, England, UK, writes: The joke probably worked better with the well-known Sicilian Defense, but the Slav Defense is a moderately common chess opening which Magnus Carlsen has played (d4 d5 c4 c6; played in around 3% of games vs. 20% for all variations of the Sicilian). And it's and more geographically relevant.

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Feb26 Saturday Q&A
Feb25 Biden Makes His (Opening) Move
Feb25 Signs Point to Jackson Nomination, Probably Today
Feb25 Abbott Targets Trans Youth
Feb25 Inhofe May Be Done...
Feb25 ...And Lee May Be in Trouble
Feb25 This Week in Schadenfreude
Feb24 The Empire Strikes Back
Feb24 Republicans Are Unified on Banning Abortion after 15 Weeks
Feb24 Democrats Want to Be United
Feb24 Democrats Are Bored with the News
Feb24 While Congress Is Deadlocked, the States Are Moving--Backward
Feb24 Trump Finally Gets Some Good News on the Legal Front
Feb24 CPAC Begins Today
Feb24 Online Race for the Presidency Is in Full Swing
Feb24 Missouri Republicans Hightail It to Mar-a-Lago
Feb24 Pennsylvania Supreme Court Draws a New Congressional Map
Feb24 Biden Has Interviewed All the Short-Listed Supreme Court Candidates
Feb23 Houston, We Have an Invasion
Feb23 Trump Continues His Losing Streak
Feb23 Rick Scott Fires a Shot Across Mitch McConnell's Bow
Feb23 There Goes That Democratic Flip Opportunity
Feb23 Ethics? What Ethics?
Feb22 The Other Valenki Drops?
Feb22 Californians Are Bearish on Biden
Feb22 Now This Is What Malice Looks Like
Feb22 CPAC Is This Weekend
Feb22 TRUTH Launch Goes about as Expected
Feb22 Madison Cawthorn Is in Trouble, According to... Madison Cawthorn
Feb22 Jim Hagedorn Has Died
Feb21 Biden: Russia Will Invade Ukraine
Feb21 Can Biden Recover by 2024?
Feb21 The Wisconsin Republican Party Is Fighting the Wisconsin Republican Party
Feb21 Trump's Congressional Targets Aren't Dead Meat Yet
Feb21 Democratic House Retirements Hit 30-Year High
Feb21 North Carolina Has a New Congressional Map
Feb21 We Don't Know the SCOTUS Nominee, But We Already Know the Senators' Questions
Feb21 Truth to Appear Today
Feb20 Sunday Mailbag
Feb19 Saturday Q&A
Feb18 From Deposed to Deposed
Feb18 McCarthy Turns Traitor
Feb18 Government Shutdown Averted
Feb18 Oregon's Next Governor's Ain't Nick
Feb18 Facebook's Feed Frenzy
Feb18 This Week in Schadenfreude
Feb18 Looking Forward: The Readers Predict 2022, Part IX: The Economy
Feb17 Biden Orders Trump Visitor Logs Turned over to House Select Committee
Feb17 Lots of Legal Action Coming Up This Year
Feb17 Senate Republicans Are Blocking Fed Nominees