top of page

What would Nellis Say?

February 2022


Trump praises ‘genius’ Putin for moving troops to eastern Ukraine.

Former president Trump says Russian leader made ‘very savvy’ decision to recognize two territories of eastern Ukraine as independent.

Donald Trump has said that Vladimir Putin is “very savvy” and made a “genius”

move by declaring two regions of eastern Ukraine as independent states and

moving Russian armed forces to them according to a February 23, 2022 report

in the Guardian by Oliver Milman. 

Trump said he saw the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis on TV “and I said: ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine … Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful.”

The former US president said that the Russian president had made a

“smart move” by sending “the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen” to the area.

Trump, a long-term admirer of Putin who was impeached over allegations he

threatened to withhold aid to Ukraine unless it could help damage the

reputation of Joe Biden, praised the Russian president’s moves while also

claiming that they would not have happened if he was still president.

“Here’s a guy who’s very savvy … I know him very well,” Trump said of Putin while talking to The Clay Travis & Buck Sexon Show at Trump’s Mar-a-lago resort.  “Very, very well. By the way, this never would have happened with us. Had I been in office, not even thinkable. This would never have happened,” Trump said about Ukraine.

What would Nellis Gray say?

“The real question is why the Republican Party - the party that claims they are the patriots, flag-defenders, and moral purists - refuse to confront Trump, Pompeo, and Tuckums Carlson, Fox’s most prominent liar, for their support of the massive military invasion of a non-threatening Ukraine by most corrupt egocentric dictator on the planet? Envy or jealousy of the police state that he has installed in Russia?

And why must Americans and Europeans finally learn what it means to honor and defend our democracy from the brave citizens of Ukraine?”

This is how we defeat Putin and other petrostate autocrats.

After Hitler invaded the Sudetenland, America turned its industrial prowess to building tanks, bombers and destroyers. Now, we must respond with renewables.


The pictures of Russian tanks rolling across the Ukrainian countryside seem both surreal – a flashback to a Europe that we’ve seen only in newsreels – and inevitable.  It’s been clear for years that Vladimir Putin was both evil and driven and that eventually we might come to a moment like this.  

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to dramatically reduce Putin’s power.  One way, in particular: to get off oil and gas says Bill McKibben in a February 25th Guardian Fossil Fuels Opinion Piece.  

This is not a “war for oil and gas” in the sense that too many of

America’s Middle East misadventures might plausibly be described.

But it is a war underwritten by oil and gas, a ware whose most crucial

weapon may be oil and gas, a ware we can’t fully engage because we

remain dependent on oil and gas.  If you want to stand with the brave

people of Ukraine, you need to find a way to stand against oil and gas.

Russia has a pathetic economy – you can verify that for yourself by looking around your house and seeing how many of the things you use were made within its borders.  Today, 60% of its exports are oil and gas; they supply the money that powers the country’s military machine.  

And, alongside that military machine, control of oil and gas supplies is Russia’s main weapon.  They have, time and again, threatened to turn off the flow of hydrocarbons to western Europe.  When the Germans finally this week stopped the planned Nordstream 2 pipeline, Putin’s predecessor, Dmitry Medvedev, said, “Welcome to the new world where Europeans will soon have to pay $2,000 euros ($2,270) per thousand cubic meters!”  His not very subtler notion:  if the price of keeping houses warm doubles, Europe will have no choice but to fold.

Today, 60% of Russia’s exports are oil and gas.  Control of oil and gas supplies is Russia’s main weapon.

So now is the moment to remind ourselves that, in the last decade, scientists and engineers have dropped the cost of solar and wind power by an order of magnitude, to the point where it is some of the cheapest power on Earth.  The best reason to deploy it immediately is to ward off the existential crisis that is climate change, and the second best is to stop the killing of nine million people annually who die from breathing in the particulates that fossil fuel combustion produces.  But the third best reason – and perhaps the most plausible for rousing our leaders to action – is that it dramatically reduces the power of autocrats, dictators, and thugs.

At the moment, big oil is using the fighting in Ukraine as an excuse to try to expand its footprint – reliable industry ally Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, went on Fox this week to argue that stopping the Keystone XL pipeline had empowered the Russian leader, for instance, and the American Petroleum Institute called for more oil and gas development.  But this is absurd – we may need, for the remaining weeks of this winter, to insure gas supplies for Europe, but by next winter we need to remove that lever.  That means an all-out effort to decarbonize that continent, and then our own.  It’s not impossible.

We have to do it anhyway, if we’re to have any hope of slowing the climate change.  And we can do it fast if we want:  huge offshore windfarms in “Europe have been built inside of 18 months without any wartime pressure.

Bill McKibben is the Schumann distinguished scholar at Middlebury College.  He is the founder of Third Act, organizing people over 60 for progressive change.


What would Nellis Gray say?

Russia is just one player in a petroleum industry that has been corrupting governments around the world to eliminate all restrictions on the drilling and processing of their products, fouling the planet in so many ways, and manipulating the price that consumers pay to produce massive profits for the richest few, for more than a century. It is time for the world to embrace the new technologies that will put an end to their industrial blackmail and save the planet from their greed.

How did Tucker Carlson turn into a Putin apologist?

Back when Tucker Carlson practiced his punditry on MSNBC in the 2000s, he held Russia in low esteem according to Erik Wemple (Media Critic) writing in the Feb. 25th Washington Post.


“The bottom line here is that freedom of the press is disappearing in

Russia,” Carlson said in August 2005, after Russia barred ABC News

staffers over the network’s interview of a Chechen rebel leader. Carlson

agreed with a fellow pundit’s assessment that a “reinstatement of the

Russian police state” is afoot; he said that Russia and China “have very

different goals from our goals,” that Vladimir Putin was “in league with

our enemies,” and that action should be taken against Russian entities doing business in Iran.

That was then.

These days, Carlson is providing comfort to the Russian president in what the host on Tuesday night termed a “border dispute” with Ukraine. Addressing the Biden administration’s determination to oppose Russian aggression, Carlson said, “You’re going to win an important moral victory against dastardly old Vladimir Putin, who is much, much worse than Justin Trudeau, just so you know.”

As with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the building blocks for Carlson’s Russophilia — or at least Russoindifferentia — have been lining up for several years now. So, his propaganda during this crisis shouldn’t shock his devoted, polemic-accustomed audience.

In November 2019, Carlson was discussing the impeachment of President Donald Trump, which involved U.S. military aid to Ukraine meant to assist in its fight with Russia in Crimea and the country’s east. “Why do I care what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia?” Carlson asked. “And I’m serious. Why do I care? Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which I am.”

Which is to say, Putin hasn’t changed; Carlson has. A convincing explanation for his embrace of Putin — as well as of Hungary’s strongman, Viktor Orbán — comes from the Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum: “The aggrieved Americans who now find their way to Orbán or Vladimir Putin also dislike their own country, albeit for different reasons. They cannot abide its racial diversity, its modern culture, its free press.”

The core of Carlsonism is a roaring contempt for immigrants, whose alleged crimes he hypes and who he says make this country “poorer and dirtier.” Now compare that platform with Putin’s position: “This liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. That migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants have to be protected,” Putin told the Financial Times.

But history — and everything we know about Carlson — instructs us not to be fooled. Don’t forget that he denounced the violence of the Capitol riot on the night of Jan. 6, 2021, then adjusted and adjusted until he was casting the rioters as persecuted freedom fighters.

Tucker Carlson has morphed into an unreasonable nihilist who boosts white nationalism, autocracy and whatever other lunacies are left in the Fox News cupboard. That formula has made his program the No. 1 show on cable news; it’ll mark its sixth baleful year on air this fall. Don’t expect Putin to stay the bad guy that long.


What would Nellis Gray say?

The only reason that Tuckums is allowed to spew his hateful blather is that his network is not controlled by the FCC because its signal is carried by private cable systems. When Fox broadcast his completely false “False Flag” programs about the invasion of our Congress, their legal representative was asked whether the network should be concerned about lawsuits. The response was that everyone knows that Carlson is a consummate liar and anyone who believes one word of his commentary is a complete fool.

The hidden ways corporations and companies raise prices.


Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Inc., a Chicago-based restaurant group, has added a 3% “processing fee” to checks at many of its restaurants. Harley-Davidson Inc. added a charge last year to its motorcycles to cover rising material costs. Peloton Interactive Inc. in January began charging $250 for delivery and setup of some of its indoor bikes, a service that was previously included free.


Companies are finding all kinds of ways to make consumers pay for rising costs. Often that is not reflected in the posted price according to a Feb. 12, 2022 Wall Street Journal report.

The Labor Department’s consumer-price index, which measures how much consumers pay for goods and services, rose to 7.5% in January compared with the same month a year earlier—the biggest rise since February 1982.

The index accounts for some changes that raise consumers’ costs, such as smaller package sizes and some fees attached to hotel packages or car purchases. But it can miss other ways in which dollars don’t stretch as far-- a hotel that changes sheets only between guests, a theme park that cancels its free airport shuttle, or an auto dealer that requires customers to buy a protective paint coating with a car.

With supply-chain challenges, pent-up demand and a tight labor market leading to inflation, businesses are looking for subtle ways to pass along rising costs. Particularly in the food business, companies have long used what the industry calls weight-outs, or shrinking package contents instead of raising prices, during economic distress periods such as the 2007-2009 recession.

“There is a lot more to come,” said Doug Baker, head of industry relations for FMI, a food-industry trade organization. “Everything is on the table in an effort to deal with those cost increases, and at the same time, not make it too difficult for consumers to shop.”

Economists and analysts at the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics monitor prices of thousands of goods and services. They can account for shrinkflation, because they track the cost of certain products by weight and quantity—so a cereal box that costs the same amount but now has 30% less volume would be registered as a price increase.

They said their efforts can’t identify every fee or dropped amenity, such as a hotel room rate that remains the same but that no longer includes fresh towels or a hot breakfast. “We do not capture the decrease in service quality associated with cleaning a room every two days rather than one,” said Jonathan Church, a BLS economist.

What would Nellis Gray say?

The real question should be, who is profiting from this exploitation? The answer is fairly simple, it is that same group of American oligarchs who have been manipulating our elections and our economy for more than half a century with the goal of dividing our country into “us” and “them” by creating economic terror, so they can deconstruct the government and discard our democracy for their own power and profit.

3 Men Plead Guilty in Plot to Attack U.S. Power Grid


The men believed that by knocking out power across the country, economic and civil unrest would spread, creating the potential for a race war and the opportunity for white leaders to rise, prosecutors said.


Three men pleaded guilty on February 23rd in a plot to attack power grids in the United States, which they believed could lead to economic and civil unrest and create the opportunity for white leaders to rise, federal prosecutors said according to a New York  Times report by Jesus Jimenez.

The men, Christopher Brenner Cook, 20, of Columbus, Ohio; Jonathan Allen Frost, 24, of West Lafayette, Ind., and of Katy, Texas; and Jackson Matthew Sawall, 22, of Oshkosh, Wis., each pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Columbus on Wednesday to one count of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.

They will each face up to 15 years in prison when they are sentenced. A date has not been scheduled.

Kenneth Parker, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said in a statement on Wednesday that the three men “conspired to use violence to sow hate, create chaos, and endanger the safety of the American people.”

Timothy Langan, assistant director of the F.B.I. counterterrorism division, said in a statement that the three men expected their plot to lead to “economic distress and civil unrest.”

“These individuals wanted to carry out such a plot because of their adherence to racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist views,” Mr. Langan said.

Samuel Shamansky, a lawyer for Mr. Frost, said on Wednesday that Mr. Frost had “accepted complete responsibility for his reprehensible conduct.”

“He has completely disavowed the racist viewpoints previously embraced,” Mr. Shamansky said. “Regrettably, Mr. Frost fell prey to the misinformation espoused on the internet and now recognizes how dangerous the medium can be. Moreover, Mr. Frost has committed himself toward rehabilitation and doing everything within his power to remedy his misdeeds.”

In fall 2019, Mr. Frost and Mr. Cook met in an online chat group, and they began talking about the possibility of attacking a power grid, according to plea agreements. Within weeks, the two men began making efforts to recruit others and began sharing reading material that promoted white supremacy and neo-Nazism. By late 2019, Mr. Sawall, a friend of Mr. Cook’s, also joined the efforts, prosecutors said.

As part of their plot, each man focused on substations in different regions of the country, and how to attack the power grids with rifles, according to court documents. The three men discussed that by knocking out power across the country for an extended period, civil unrest would spread, a race war could break out and the next Great Depression could be induced, according to court documents.

“People wouldn’t show up to work, the economy could crash and there would be a ripe opportunity for potential (white) leaders to rise up,” Mr. Cook’s plea agreement said. “One theme of the group discussions centered around the need to create disorder to bring the system down, which would cause people to doubt the system and create a true revolutionary force against the system.”

In February 2020, the three men met in Columbus for more talks about their plot, according to court documents. When they met, Mr. Frost gave Mr. Cook an AR-47, and the two men trained with the rifle at a shooting range, according to court documents.

What would Nellis Gray say?

White-nationalism has always been the unspoken core of the Republican Party’s appeal to uneducated voters, who have no other excuse to support a party dedicated to the elimination of middle-class workers’ jobs, rights, and benefits. 

Now the radical right has a massive militia comprised of ignorant racists willing to fight and die to maintain White dominance of our government and our society through a modern Civil War to exterminate liberals and minorities through violence and assassination. The question should be, who is financing this movement and when will they be brought to justice?

The antisemitism animating Putin’s claim to ‘denazify’ Ukraine.


The Russian leader’s pretext for invasion recasts Ukraine’s Jewish president as a Nazi and Russian Christians as true victims of the Holocaust.

When Vladimir Putin announced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at dawn on February 24, he justified the “special military operation” as having the goal to “denazify” Ukraine.  The justification is not tenable, but it would be a mistake to simply dismiss it writes Jason Stanley in the February 26 Guardian.

Vladimir Putin is himself a fascist autocrat, one who imprisons democratic

opposition leaders and critics.  He is the acknowledged leader of the global

far right, which looks increasingly like a global fascist movement.

Ukraine does have a far-right movement, and its armed defenders include the

Azov battalion, a far-right nationalist militia group.  But no democratic country

is free of far-right nationalist groups, including the United Sates.  In the 2019 election, the Ukrainian far right was humiliated, receiving only 2%of the vote.  This is far less support than far right parties receive across western Europe, including inarguably democratic countries such as France and Germany.

Ukraine is a democratic country, whose popular president was elected, in a free and fair election, with over 70% of the vote.  That president, Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish and comes from a family partially wiped out in the Nazi Holocaust.

Putin’s claim that Russia is invading Ukraine to denazify it is therefore absurd on its face.  But understanding why Putin justifies the invasion of democratic Ukraine in this way sheds important light on what is happening not only in eastern Europe, but worldwide.

Fascism is a cult of the leader, who promises national restoration in the face of supposed humiliation by ethnic or religious minorities, liberals, feminists, immigrants and homosexuals.   The fascist leader claims the nation has been humiliated and its masculinity threatened by these forces.  It must regain its former glory (and often its former territory) with violence.  He offers himself as the only one who can restore it.

Fascism justifies its violence by offering to protect a supposedly pure religious and national identity from the forces of liberalism.  In the west, fascism presents itself as the defender of European Christianity against these forces as well as mass Muslim immigration.  Fascism in the west is thus increasingly hard to distinguish from Christian nationalism.

Putin, the leader of Russian Christian nationalism, has come to view himself as the global leader of Christian nationalism, and is increasingly regard as such by Christian nationalists around the world including in the United States.   Putin has emerged as a leader of this movement in part because of the global reach or recent Russian fascist thinkers such as Alexander Dugin and Alexander Prokhanov who laid its groundwork.

The form of Russian fascism Dugin and Prokhanov defended is like the central versions of European fascism – explicitly antisemitic.  The dominant version of antisemitism alive in parts of eastern Europe today is that Jews employ of the Holocaust to seize the victimhood narrative from the “real” victims of the Nazis, who are Russian Christians (or other non-Jewish eastern Europeans).  Those who embrace Russian Christian nationalist ideology will be especially susceptible to this strain of antisemitism.

With this background we can understand why Putin chose the actions he did, as well as the words he used to justify them.  Ukraine has always been the primary target of those who seek to restore “Soviet power in fascist form.”

There are broader morals here.  The attack on liberal democracy in the west comes from a global fascist movement, whose center is Christian nationalism.  It will be hard to disentangle the movement from antisemitism.  Unsurprisingly, proponents of the view that a Christian nation needs protection and defense against liberalism, “globalism” and their supposed decadence, will be marshaled to their most violent actions when the faces of free, secular, tolerant liberal democracy prominently include Jewish ones.


What would Nellis Gray say?

A corrupt Russian fascist dictator claims that the invasion of his peaceful non-threatening neighbor is meant to eliminate their democratically-elected “fascist” government, which is headed by a Jewish president, so he can add to his own power and prestige?

Have we forgotten Neville Chamberlain’s claim of “Peace in our time” after he handed the Sudetenland (a part of Czechoslovakia) in the Munich Pact of 1938 to appease Hitler, who started gobbling up his neighbors less than a year later? Does anyone believe that Putin will be satisfied with just taking Ukraine as an appetizer for the rest of Eastern Europe?

The whole world understands the horrors of European history, except Putin and our own Republican fascists who are praising his “Brilliance”. For the first time in far too long, the United States and the European Union are joining together to expose the lies and protect the very concept of democracy from Russian military adventurism.

Find the truth in Rick Stiller’s The Redemption Series at


Enjoy my books?  Write a Review!


Nellis says, if you enjoy Rick’s novels, the best compliment you can give is writing a review. As a self-published indie author, I don't have the advertising power of a major publishing firm. But you can make a huge difference.

Friendly reviews help other readers find them. It only takes a few minutes and your reaction can be as long or short as you like.  

If you'd like to leave a review on Amazon, click here, then pick a title, scroll down to Customer Reviews, and select Write a customer review. Simple as that.
Thank you very much.

bottom of page