Monthly Archives: March 2022

Instruction Manual

Something broke.
I can’t find
My instruction manual.

I remember
Leaving it
In my bottom desk drawer
Amongst the other manuals.

It’s not there.
However, I did find
Instructions for my
Dust buster.

I’m sure my mother
Referred to my manual;
She was always attempting to
Fix me.

The manual recommended:
Clean underwear
Short hair
Brushed teeth
Erect posture
Fixed smile
Closed mouth
Unblinking subservience.

Perhaps I lost my manual
During the sixties.
When my hair grew long, and
I turned to the dark side.

I’m positive I had it
When I moved to Occidental
Eager to fit in.

Now something is broken
I’m bekloppt, and
Sure could use
My instruction manual.

My kids say:
“Locate your manual in the cloud.”
That requires a serial number
Which I can’t find.

There’s always prayer
But, after all these years,
My faith is fallow
Perhaps that’s what’s broken.

Ukraine: The Tipping Point

It’s been three weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine and the Western world is wondering: “How can we bring this horrible war to an end and spare the lives of millions of innocent Ukrainians?”  We’re searching for a tipping point; searching for a way out.

Here are several factors to consider:

1.Vladimir Putin: The Russian dictator is blocking a reasonable end to the conflict.  To say the least, Putin has a warped worldview: he invaded Ukraine with the intention to reassemble “Russkiy Mir” (Russian World); to unite all Russian-speaking people.  Building upon this perspective, Putin does not consider Ukraine to be a separate part of Russia and plans to annex it.

Experts believe that Putin intends to seize the four largest Ukrainian cities: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and Lviv.  If he is successful, Putin will install Russian puppet mayors, hold mock elections, and declare that Ukrainians have voted to rejoin Russia.

Putin does not care how many civilians he kills in order to achieve his objective.

Putin is the reincarnation of Adolph Hitler.

2. Incrementalism: On March 12th, I listened to a ZOOM briefing on Ukraine ( ) featuring Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, renown Russian dissident Garry Kasparov, national security expert USA Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle, and individuals from the Ukrainian front lines.

Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman (retired) is the former Director for European Affairs for the US National Security council; a naturalized US citizen, Vindman was born in Kyiv. He opined that what is required to stop Putin is a massive NATO response, certainly providing aircraft to Ukraine, and possibly declaring a “no-fly” zone.  He reminded viewers that Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and for the next 27 months — until December 11, 1941 — the US policy was “incrementalism.” While the US did provide some support to Europe, it was woefully inadequate; Hitler rampaged across the continent and killed millions of innocents.  Colonel Vindman said, in effect, that Putin is Hitler and will not be deterred by anything short of a massive military response.  Vindman warned that unless we do this, Putin will kill millions of Ukrainians.  (Ukraine has a population of 44 million.)

At the ZOOM briefing, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba asked the United States to provide four forms of assistance: sanctions on Russia, humanitarian assistance, conventional arms (including anti-tank weapons), and planes.

3.Next Steps: The official US position is that we will provide the first three forms of assistance requested by Foreign Minister Kuleba.  But not planes from NATO countries.

a. We should provide Ukraine with better surface-to-air missiles.  Indications are that we are doing this.

b. NATO teams should jam Russian communications.  We seem to be doing this.

c. We should provide Ukraine with aircraft via non-NATO countries, such as Moldava and “Kurdistan.”  (Technically, Kurdistan is not a country.)

d. As proposed by Evelyn Farkas in the Washington Post ( NATO should insist on humanitarian no-fly zones: “These would build on the agreements between Ukraine and Russia to create safe corridors allowing civilians to leave the sites of battles. Russia would have to allow NATO planes to ensure that no attacks occurred in these corridors. (That no attacks will occur is something Russia has already pledged.) Given its mutual nature and limited goal, such a plan would not require the destruction of Russian radars and antiaircraft weaponry on the ground. NATO would make explicitly clear that it intends no attacks unless civilians are imperiled.”

e. The West should strengthen economic sanctions and cut off all oil purchases from Russia; in essence, blockade the Russian economy.

f. The US should cease all normal diplomatic relations with Russia.  (By the way,  the Renew Democracy Initiative ( ) rates the US sanctions as a C-.)

4.Drawing a Red Line: At the beginning of World War Ii, the United States failed to draw a red line with Hitler.  We watched as he invaded Poland and then steadily moved across Europe.  We must draw a red line with Putin and declare: “If you do this, we will declare a ‘no-fly’ zone over Ukraine and enforce it with NATO planes.”

a. Putin must not be allowed to use biological or chemical weapons.

b. Russian forces must maintain captured Ukrainian nuclear power plants in a way that does not produces dangerous radiation.  If they destroy the power plants, that constitutes crossing the red line,

c. Putin must permit stable humanitarian-relief corridors.  There has to be a way to evacuate civilians and to provide humanitarian aid.

d. Obviously, Russian forces must not enter any NATO nation.

5. The Role of China: Hu Wei, a distinguished Chinese political scientist, ( ) argues that China must intervene on the side of the West (United States and Nato) and force Russia to leave Ukraine: “China should avoid playing both sides in the same boat, give up being neutral, and choose the mainstream position in the world.,, In some cases, apparent neutrality is a sensible choice, but it does not apply to this war, where China has nothing to gain. Given that China has always advocated respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity, it can avoid further isolation only by standing with the majority of the countries in the world.”  President Biden is taking to Chinese Premier Xi bout chin’s role.

Summary: Perhaps a negotiated settlement is possible, but it appears more likely that we’ve entered into a war of attrition, where Russian forces will remain in Ukraine until they run out of energy.  This could take months.  In the meantime, the United States should continue to provide all forms of assistance.  And, NATO with the aid of China, should demand humanitarian-relief corridors.


1. The Island

As the sun kissed the rain-slick Irish hills
And the mist rose off Bantry Bay
I cried
From the joy of being present
At the birth of life.

2. The Music

What is the measure of a man?
Perhaps, his ability to sing
At the local pub.

An Irish bard named Joyce
Possessed a magnificent voice
When full of the bubblin’
His songs lifted Dublin
Until he made an unfortunate choice.

“At a key juncture in 1904, James Joyce almost won the most prestigious music competition in Ireland.. The judge Luigi Denza… was so impressed with his singing that he was prepared to give Joyce the gold medal—until the young author refused to participate in the sight-singing part of the event.” Joyce then left Ireland.

3. The People

“It doesn’t matter what the topic is, any self-respective Irish person will be able to talk about it and at a rapid pace. So whether it is the taxi driver or just someone you’ve stopped to ask directions, don’t expect it to be a quick conversation.” Guidebook

There was a lass from Cork
Whose tongue was shaped like a fork
Her spoken word
Was sure to be heard
Delivered with unusual torque.

“It is a much cleverer thing to talk nonsense than to listen to it.”
Oscar Wilde

The New World Order: Oil

The February 24th Russian invasion of Ukraine has ushered in a dangerous new world order. In response to Vladimir Putin’s intent to obliterate Ukraine, the US has formed a global coalition to isolate Russia. Crippling economic sanctions have been levied on Russia. This has impacted the price of oil.

Russia: Two weeks into the invasion, it’s clear that Putin made two miscalculations: he underestimated Ukrainian resistance and the strength of the NATO coalition.  Now Russia is suffering from severe sanctions: their participation in the global banking system has been curtailed; Internet connectivity has been throttled; assets of Russian oligarchs have been seized; and sales of fossil fuel have been restricted.  In this article, I discuss the oil-related sanctions.

Russia has the 11th ranked economy in the world.  (In 2021, $1.70 trillion GDP.)  The US economy is number one ($22.99 trillion in 2021); by the way, California’s economy is number five ($3.35 trillion in 2021).  Compared to the United States, Russia’s economy is unsophisticated.  It is unusually dependent upon fossil fuel exports. (“Crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas comprise roughly 58% of total exports…  Sales to Europe represent over 60% of total exports while Asia has an export share of roughly 30%. Russian exports to the United States, Africa and Latin America combined represent less than 5% of total shipments.”)

While Russia is the third largest oil-producing country — behind the United States and Saudi Arabia — it is the number one oil exporter.  According to the Washington Post ( “[Russia]  consumes about 3.45 million barrels a day while exporting more than 7 million barrels of crude oil and other petroleum products a day.”  4.8 million barrels go to the West; that is, countries that are supporting sanctions.  Of the remaining 2.3 million barrels, by far the most, 1.6 million barrels, goes to China.

European Union: The Washington Post noted: “In the year ending in October, Russia supplied about a quarter of all oil imported by the European Union.”  The countries most dependent on Russian oil are Slovakia, Poland and Finland.  About 32 percent of German oil comes from Russia.

As the results of economic sanctions, some of these oil deliveries have ceased.  Nonetheless, when the EU hit Russia with economic sanctions, it left open a portal in order to pay for oil.  (  For example, the EU continues to transfer funds to Sberbank.

In leaving open this financial conduit, the EU is betting that the war in Ukraine will be short-lived and, therefore, they can withstand criticism for “financing Putin’s war” and continue receiving Russian oil they depend on.  At the moment, it appears the war will drag on and reports of Russian atrocities will mount.  As a result, there will be increased pressure on the EU to shut off Russian oil.  (Or, Vladimir Putin may react to the impact of the other economic sanctions and retaliate by cutting off deliveries .)  Writing in the Atlantic (, Tom McTague noted: “Each and every day for now, Russia receives $1.1 billion from the EU in oil and gas receipts, according to the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel. In total, oil and gas revenues make up 36 percent of the Russian government’s budget.” [Emphasis added.]

On March 9th, The European Union ( announced a proposal to cut reliance on Russian oil by two-thirds.  “In the short term, the plan envisions that Europe would secure liquefied natural gas supplies shipped from elsewhere around the world.”

The big question is, “If the EU does not buy oil from Russia, where will it come from?”

World Oil Supply:  The United States is the world’s largest oil producer, but we use most of our production.  We rank seventh in oil exports.  The major exporters are: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait, Iraq, Canada, USA, Nigeria, Mexico, and Norway.

About 20 percent of Germany’s gas comes from Norway, via an undersea pipeline.  This source is said to be running at capacity and is not capable of providing more in the near future.  The implication is that, if Russia shuts off the oil spigot, the EU will need to be supplied by Arab states such as UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.  Early indications are that  these countries will stick to the Organization of Petroleum exporting countries (OPEC) plan.  [The members of OPEC are: Algeria, Angola, Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.]  This plan advocates conservative production increases — because many of these nations do not want to offend Russia. ( )  They have no intention of replacing the missing Russian gas, cheaply.

The United States has begun negotiations with Saudi Arabia.  The Wall Street Journal ( ) reported the Saudis resist increasing production: “They want more support for their intervention in Yemen’s civil war, help with their own civilian nuclear program as Iran’s moves ahead, and legal immunity for Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the U.S.”

The United States has also begun negotiations with Venezuela (  It’s too soon to tell what will result from these talks.

The reality is that if Russia shuts off the oil spigot, the EU will be in a world of hurt.  They will have to find other fossil-fuel sources, and they will be expensive.  (OPEC, and many multinational oil companies, view the Ukraine War as an opportunity to make money.)

Inflation: The Biden Administration has banned Russian oil imports (about 3 percent of our oil use).  This ban will increase the price of gasoline, a major component of rising inflation.

US Inflation has risen by 7.9 percent, a forty year high.  ( ) There are several components of this increase but the primary one is energy (Gasoline and electricity). ( )

Coming out of a prolonged pandemic, some inflation should be expected because the normal economic system was disrupted.  In the case of energy, this inflation has been increased by turmoil in the world marketplace.

Republicans are seizing on inflation — particularly gasoline price increases — as an opportunity to bash President Biden.  The reality is that rising fuel prices are primarily due to global marketplace conditions — Biden Administration policies have played a negligible role.  Writing in the Washington Post ( ), Philip Bump observed: “What [my analysis] shows is that domestic gas prices are driven largely by international oil prices, because the American oil industry is intertwined with the global marketplace.”  That is, more domestic drilling or pipelines won’t necessarily lower domestic prices.

Summary: The current situation is both a problem and an opportunity.  It’s a problem because the war in Ukraine is a humanitarian disaster.  It’s a problem because the war exacerbates climate change.  It’s a problem because it’s likely that the EU will lose access to Russian gas and this will cause economic and social problems.  It’s a problem because the price of gasoline is going to go up and up.

Nonetheless, the spike in international oil prices is an opportunity for all of us to accelerate our departure from reliance on fossil fuels.  For example, to buy that electric vehicle we have been considering.

Going Rogue: The New World Order

The February 24th invasion of Ukraine has ushered in a new world order.  Remarkably, it’s like that predicted by George Orwell in his book, 1984: three perpetually warring superstates. (In 1984, these states were “Oceania,” the english-speaking world and South America, “Eurasia,” Europe and Russia, and “Eastasia,” China and southern Asia.)  Putin’s act of war has created a wall between Russia and most of the western world, with Ukraine, Moldava, and Georgia as  disputed territory.

There are several consequences of this new world order; most of them grim.

Ukraine: I hope I’m wrong, but I do not expect a rapid end to the Ukraine conflict. Putin is determined to seize all of Ukraine and erase it as an independent nation. Given what we’ve seen so far, I expect the situation to develop into a protracted war spreading across Ukraine, a nation 89 percent the size of Texas. Russia will occupy most major Ukraine cities and the Ukrainians will wage a modern guerrilla war.

There will be many dangerous aspects of this lengthy conflict.  The West will continue to arm the Ukrainians and this will further incense Putin, who is already enraged at the economic blockade — which he described as “an act of war.”  (No NATO forces will fight within Ukraine; but there will be “volunteers” from the West.)  There will be naval conflicts in the Black Sea and the Strait of Istanbul (the Bosphorus).  There will be cyber warfare.

Trade: Russia exports fossil fuel, minerals (such as Palladium), fertilizer, and grain to the West.  These exports will stop as well as Ukrainian agricultural exports.

A total blockade of Russia will create a fuel crisis in Europe.  Some EU members are extremely dependent upon Russian gas; for example, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, and Poland.  There is no quick solution for these countries.  (For example, Germany has no port suitable for the processing of liquid natural gas.)  The US and Saudi Arabia will increase oil exports.

The cessation of Ukrainian agricultural exports will create a food crisis in the Mediterranean region.  The US and EU will increase food exports.

The cessation of Russian and Ukrainian exports will impact the United States.  Despite environmental concerns, we will adopt a “drill, baby, drill” attitude.  Due to the increased demand for agricultural and petroleum exports, our economy will strengthen.  A war economy will bring full employment.

Rules of Engagement: The Russian invasion of Ukraine has established three new rules of engagement between the competing powers.  The first new rule appears to be that nuclear weapons will not be used unless NATO forces enter the Russian sector.

The second new rule is there will be no war in space.  All nations will leave the International Space Station as is, and not interfere with other nations’ satellites.

The third new rule is that within the contested area (Ukraine for now , but Moldova and Georgia later), Russian troops expect to operate without outside opposition.  There seems to be a tacit agreement that NATO can send arms to Ukrainian troops so long as no NATO forces enter Ukraine (apparently, this agreement also includes NATO providing planes to Ukraine).

Cyberwar:  Many observers have predicted that if things go poorly for Russia — as seems to be the case — Putin will lash out with cyber warfare.  (So far there’s been less than expected: Russians have launched cyberattacks on Ukrainian web sites and Anonymous has attacked Russian web sites.)   As the economic blockade hardens, we should expect Russia to launch cyberattacks on the United States.  They’ll attack the obvious: financial institutions, energy companies, governmental agencies, shipping firms, etc.  It will be a big deal; eg, expect the grid to go down for days.

There are US social network and news media outlets in Russia.  (Outlets such as Facebook and the New York Times.) These are being severely restricted and will, most likely, cease operations in Russia.  Expect Russia to attack these same outlets , within the United States.

Russia will attempt to increase disinformation in the West.

Foreign Policy: On March 2nd, the United Nations voted to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  141 nations voted in favor of the resolution, 34 abstained (including China) and five voted no: Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea, Russia, and Syria.  As the West blockades Russia,  no doubt Russia will turn to China and India for trade.  China will become Russia’s largest oil customer.  (India will also buy more.)

The new world order will parallel that envisaged by Orwell in 1984.  Russia will strengthen its alliances with the “stan” countries including Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.  It will form new alliances with Afghanistan and Iran.

China will strengthen alliances with India and Indonesia.

What Orwell termed “Oceania” will be composed of the European Union, Great Britain, North and South America, most of Africa, Israel, the Arab peninsula, Iraq, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, and South Korea.  There will be squabbles with a few countries such as Cuba and Venezuela, but these will be worked out. (For example, the US has already started new talks with Venezuela.)

Climate Change: In the short term, the new world order will be a disaster for the climate change movement.  Because there will be an energy “panic” in Europe, there will be enormous pressure in North America to produce as much oil as possible, so we can ship a lot of it to the EU — to replace the oil no longer provided by Russia.  (There will also be campaigns to move more rapidly to renewable energy.)

US Politics:  The longer the war in Ukraine continues, the more obvious it will be that the invasion of Ukraine is bad for Republicans.  Bad, in general, because Americans will rally around Joe Biden, a Democrat.  And particularly bad for Republicans who are die-hard Trump supporters.

Trump has been weakened by the investigations into the January 6th insurrection and damaged by his admiration for Vladimir Putin and early support for the invasion of Ukraine.

When the 2022 election season heats up, in many contested districts, we will see three sets of candidates: the Democrats. the Trump Republicans, and the “Recovering” Republicans.  The Trump Republicans and the Recovering Republicans will split the conservative vote.

Summary: Welcome to the new world order.  Hold on, we’re in for a rough ride.

Old Graton Trail

[Apologies to Woody Guthrie]

Come along boys and listen to my tale
Tell you of my troubles on the old Graton Trail
Come a ki yi yippee yippee yi yippee yay
Come a ki yi yippee yippee yay

I started walking at Occidental Road
One and half miles, my map showed
But all paved with asphalt black
Put blisters on my feet and pain in my back.

Dogs took off after a great big squirrel
Pulled me hard, gonna need an epidural
Come a ki yi yippee yippee yi yippee yay
Come a ki yi yippee yippee yay

That old couple strolling
I know I’ve seen them before
Their pictures were featured
On the Post Office door.

Here come bikers riding hard
Threaten to knock me into that back yard
Come a ki yi yippee yippee yi yippee yay
Come a ki yi yippee yippee yay

That lady with the stroller
Sure looks stressed out
If my aussies get close
She’ll begin to shout.

Step off the pavement
Hide behind the tree
Here come “Hell’s Grannies”
As mean as can be.

Dogs are done, taking a crap
Heading for home for a nice long nap
Come a ki yi yippee yippee yi yippee yay
Come a ki yi yippee yippee yay.

Ten Questions About Ukraine

2022 already seemed a grim year. Now we’ve added the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (“The hits keep on coming.”) Here’s my take on the key questions about this invasion.

1.Why did Vladimir Putin order the invasion of Ukraine? We already knew that Vladimir was not a nice guy. The invasion confirmed this and raised the question: Has Vlad gone mad? The answer is “sorta.”

The decision to invade Ukraine was made because (a) domestic conditions have deteriorated in Russia, as they have in Russian provinces such as Uzbekistan, and Vlad wanted a diversion; and (b) Vlad lives in a bubble and believed that no one would care if he obliterated Ukraine.

Throughout the world  there’s an increasing gap between the “haves” and the “have nots.”  We’ve seen this in the US, represented by movements such as the trucker blockade.  People are upset because of pandemic restrictions and related economic conditions, such as inflation.  This is true in Russia, but more extreme because the “have nots” were already severely hurting, before the pandemic.

Furthermore, Vlad is an autocrat who lives in a bubble where sycophants constantly feed him information that he wants to hear; such as the belief that, if invaded, Ukraine would be a pushover, and the Ukrainian Army would quickly side with the Russian invaders.  Putin also heard that the US was weak and Biden would not be able to rally NATO or the will of the American people.  Vlad is a malignant narcissist — sound familiar?

2.Are we all going to die?  Eventually, but probably not as a direct result of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.  In fact, there’s a reasonable likelihood that the world will become safer because Putin will be weakened, the West will be unified, and Donald Trump will be branded as a traitor.

3.From the perspective of the United States, is the invasion a net positive or negative?  Vlad has talked about using nuclear weapons so that’s bad.  Russian soldiers are killing and maiming civilians, that is bad.  Russians are blowing up gas pipelines, that’s bad.  Lots of bad.

On the other hand, Vlad had been using a strategy of sowing division in the West and has now abandoned that. (Putin had been sponsoring folks like Donald Trump (US), Nigel Farage (England), and Marine La Pen (France).)   Vlad has (for the moment) abandoned subterfuge; that’s good.  The invasion of Ukraine has unified the West; that’s good.  The invasion of Ukraine has strengthened Joe Biden; that’s good.  Some good.

4.What happens next?  Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe, next to Russia.  (Slightly less land than Texas, with more people than California.)  It appears that Vlad intends to occupy the entire country and set up a puppet government.  (Possible employment for Donald Trump.)  Hmm.  The invasion isn’t going like Vlad expected.  Perhaps he “bit off more than he can chew.”

Somewhat surprisingly, the invasion of Ukraine has solidified NATO and, except for Trumpsters, solidified the US.  Russia is now subject to severe economic and social sanctions — sorry Russians but you can no longer travel outside your country.

5.Is Biden doing the right thing?  Yes.  So far, Joe Biden has played this situation astutely.  First, he used US intelligence reports to tell the world that Putin planned a massive invasion of Ukraine and intended to occupy the entire country and set up a puppet government.  Next, Biden rallied NATO to enact a set of severe sanctions.  (NATO is also sending weapons to Ukraine — which, by the way, is not a member of NATO).  Third, Biden has encouraged western government to seize the assets of Russian oligarchs.

Politically, the invasion of Ukraine has given Biden a “get out of jail free” card.  Now, he can blame America’s economic woes on Russia; eg. gas prices are up because of the invasion of Ukraine.

6. What will happen next?  At this writing, the Russian military offensive appears to have bogged down.  On February 28, there were new talks between Russia and Ukraine; I don’t expect much to come from this, right now.  Putin’s problem is that he, apparently, expected a quick Ukraine war, resulting in a decisive victory; this seems unlikely to happen.  The longer the war drags on, the weaker Vlad’s position will be.

One possible end would see Russia annex two Ukrainian provinces (Donetsk and Luhansk), declare “victory,” and withdraw troops from all but the eastern regions. Another possible end is Russian regime change — angry oligarch get tired of having their yachts seized and turn on Putin.  Or this could drag on, like the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, but that seems unlikely.

7. What would escalation look like?  A lot of observers are worried that the Ukrainian war will escalate; for example, Russia will invade one of Ukraine’s western neighbors: Hungary, Poland, Romania, or Slovakia.  If this happened, there would surely be a wider war, as these nations are members of NATO.

But escalation could take other forms: for example, Russia might cut off oil supplies for the West.  Or Russia might engage in increased cyber warfare.  Or carry the war into space.

8. What will happen to fuel prices?  The price of oil has been going up and will continue to go up.  Some of this is due to greedy US oil barons but, at the moment, the spike is due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Some EU members are extremely dependent upon Russian gas; for example, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, and Poland.

Russia exports fossil fuel, minerals (such as Palladium), fertilizer, and grain to the West.  If these exports stop, it will represent a significant escalation.  And also a big hit to Russia’s economy,

The surge in oil prices is yet another reminder that we all need to stop using fossil fuels.

9. Will there be a cyberwar?  Many observers have predicted that if things go poorly for Russia — as seems to be the case — they will lash out with cyber warfare.  So far there’s been less than expected: Russians have launched cyberattacks on Ukrainian web sites and Anonymous has attacked Russian web sites.   If the Russian banking system fails, we might expect Vlad’s lads to launch cyberattacks on US financial institutions. (Warning: don’t open emails that begin, “I am a Russian Princess and I need your help with my bank account…”)

When we talk about cyber warfare, we should also include the possibility of nasty business in space (“the final frontier”).  The US and Russia and other nations cooperate on the International Space Station.  The Russians have threatened to walk away from the ISS and claimed that, if they do, the ISS will plummet to earth and land on Mar-a-Lago.  Fortunately for us, Elon Musk has stepped into the breach and promised that, if the Russians abandon ISS, he will protect us.  (Is my imagination or does Elon Musk look like Buzz Lightyear?)

Russian space invaders might also attack our communication satellites and interfere with our right to watch TV series like “Bachelorette,” “Naughty Housewives of Fresno,” and “Dancing with the Outliers.”   If that happens, we will have no choice but to dispatch Elon Musk to wreak havoc on Russian media.

10. What are the political consequences?  The invasion of Ukraine is good for Democrats and bad for Republicans.  It’s good for Democrats because it’s an opportunity for Joe Biden to rebuild his reputation.  Historically, in times of war, Americans have rallied behind the President; that will boost Biden’s approval numbers and help Democrats, in general.

Biden, and Democrats, have been damaged by US inflation — which is actually no fault of theirs.  The Ukraine war presents an opportunity to blame inflation on Vladimir Putin.

The invasion of Ukraine is bad for Republicans.  Bad, in general, because Americans will rally around Joe Biden, a Democrat.  And super bad for Republicans because the curtain has been lifted and Republicans revealed as two Parties — gasp.  There is the Party of Trump; from this point forward to be known as “Republican Traitors.”  And, the Party of Republicans who have been deprogrammed; from this point forward to be known as “Recovering Republicans.”

Recovering Republicans believe that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a bad thing and that Vladimir Putin is a thug.  They also believe that anyone who describes Vlad as “smart” and who implies that we ought to ignore the invasion, is a traitor.  (They also acknowledge that the 2020 election was not “stolen” and Donald Trump was not a first-rate President.)

When the 2022 election season heats up, in many contested districts, we will see three sets of candidates: the Democrats. the Traitor Republicans, and the Recovering Republicans.  The Traitor Republicans and the Recovering Republicans will split the conservative vote.

Summary: In the meantime, do what you can to support Ukraine.

Hang in there Україна, we’ve got your back.