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by Hal Brown
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I adore alliterations. I am a wee bit ashamed to admit that I have been known to use the thesaurus to build on an initial idea with only three or four words. For example in describing Trump using a magic wand to declassify top secret documents I wrote he was a flying fat fatuous fantasy flailing fairy.
Main points from Washington Post Column on possible Russian use of nukes:
Demonstration shot over uninhabitated area- least likely because it wouldn't be shocking enough.
This explosion would not require a nuclear response by the United States. To prevent further escalation, President Biden could call for Russia’s international isolation (China and India, for example, would quickly distance themselves), impose extraordinarily harsh new sanctions and issue warnings of grave consequences should Russia proceed with additional explosions.
Low-yield weapon. Russia could fire a “low-yield” nuclear weapon on a Ukrainian military target. The explosion would kill hundreds or thousands and cause significant damage.
This might be the most likely scenario. Again, it would not require a “response in kind” by the United States, though some would urge that. The likely response, in addition to those in scenario one, would be massive increases in military aid to Ukraine and possibly concerted NATO or U.S. strikes on the Russian units that launched the attack.
Large-yield weapon. Putin could dial up the explosive force of the attack to the 50- or 100-kiloton range, or about three to six times the Hiroshima bomb.
This would almost certainly trigger a direct U.S. or NATO response, though not likely nuclear. The United States and NATO have sufficient precise, powerful conventional weapons that they could use to devastate Russian forces in Ukraine and command headquarters, including those units responsible for the attack. This would likely be accompanied by large-scale cyber operations.
Nuclear attack on NATO. This is the least likely scenario. Russian first-use doctrine includes the option of striking NATO targets.This could trigger a nuclear response. Some would argue a limited nuclear counterstrike was necessary to preserve nuclear deterrence. More likely is an all-out conventional assault to try to eliminate either Putin himself or the weapons he commands before he strikes again.
These are horrible scenarios to consider. If you are worried, you are having the appropriate reaction. We should do all we can now to prepare a massive political response that might deter Putin from crossing the nuclear line.