John Helmer at Dances With Bears has a good analysis of the Gamma radiation spike noted after the Russian missile attack that blew up a Ukrainian ammo-dump in Khmelnitsky, western Ukraine, in the early hours of May 13. The preponderance of the data (Ukraine denies) suggest that a large amount of Uranium munitions likely exploded there, vaporizing and becoming airborne after burning. Evidence is also presented that measured uranium in Ukrainian air has been much increased since March 2022 (already using DU munitions, maybe in machine guns?). Polish rainfall on May 15, 17 and 18 had increased radiation, consistent with DU fallout, but the Polish government said that it was from natural radon gas. That weather pattern has since crossed Denmark, the Netherlands and has likely reached London. Thanks Christine.
Aleks @ Black Mountain Analysis has a detailed and point by point analysis of the Ukraine war, including the head-fakes from Wagner Chief, Prigozhin badmouthing his superiors in the media.
Artyomovsk/Bakhmut fell on May 20th, the one year anniversary of the fall of Mariupol, because the Russian command picked that day to finish their "meat grinder" operation.
Aleks thinks the Ukrainian spring-offensive has been underway since early May, but they don't want to say so until they accomplish something impressive. He sees the 70,000 western-trained Ukrainian troops, recently available for duty, as being a trained and motivated group of men who the Russians will annihilate before proceeding with their own offensive.
He sees western equipment like the F-16s being used in the same way that Soviet era equipment has been used to date. Some range-extension is the main difference in some cases
This war is existential for Russia and for Ukraine, and Russia needs to complete its objectives, eliminating future threats. He predicts the 4 remaining ethnically Russian and Russian-voting oblasts will also be taken into Russia.
Alastair Crooke, The EU is Over-invested in the Ukraine War-Project
The European Union, by any standards, is over-invested in the Ukrainian war-project – and in its romance with Zelensky too. Just earlier this year, the western (and EU) narrative was that the coming post-Winter offensive by Ukraine would ‘break’ Russia and render a ‘coup de grace’ to the war. MSM headlines spun a regular tale of Russia on its last legs. Now, however, the Establishment messaging has done a 180°. Russia is not ‘on its last legs’ …
..Put simply, European leaders have dug themselves into a deep hole. European states, by emptying what remained in their armouries of old weapons for Kiev, had grimly hoped that the coming Spring/Summer offensive would settle everything, and they would not have to deal with the problem – the Ukraine war – anymore. Wrong again: They are being invited to ‘dig-in deeper’.
Yet, European leaders do not appear to see that the next few months in Ukraine are a key inflection point; Should the EU not firmly refuse ‘mission creep’ now, a slew of adverse economic consequences will ensue. Ukraine is not a stand-alone foreign policy issue, but rather the pivot around which Europe’s economic prospects will rotate.
Zelensky’s F-16 blitz through Europe last week is indicative that, whilst some European leaders want Zelensky to end the war,he – conversely – wants (literally) to take the war to Russia (and likely all of Europe).//
..These latter EU States now are becoming desperate for a way out of the hole they dug into. What if the U.S. were to cut Ukraine’s funding? What if Team Biden pivots rapidly to China? Politico is running a headline: The End of Ukraine Aid is rapidly Approaching. Reupping it Won’t be Easy. The EU could be stuck with financing a ‘forever conflict’ and the nightmare of a further refugee flood – draining EU resources and exacerbating the immigration crisis already roiling EU electorates.
Member States seem still to be wishfully thinking again, half-believing the tales of divisions in Moscow; believing the Prigozhin ‘mind-omelettes’; believing the Russian slow-cooking of Bakhmut to be a sign of force exhaustion...
..The EU does not discuss these crucial decisions affecting Europe’s role in the war in public. All sensitive matters are debated behind closed-doors in the EU. The problem with this democracy deficit is that the sequelae to these Russia-related issues touch almost every aspect of European economic and social life...
..Is there a way out from the ‘hole’ the EU has dug for itself?..And honesty would require the EU to admit that joining the financial war on Russia was a mistake. One that should be corrected.
Yes – it is called ‘honesty’. If the EU wants a quick end to the war, it should understand that there are two options available: Ukrainian capitulation and an agreement on Moscow’s terms; or the continuation of full-spectrum attrition of Ukraine’s capacity to wage war, until its forces are overtaken by entropy.
Honesty would require the EU to ditch the delusional stance that Moscow will negotiate a settlement on Zelensky’s terms...
Moon of Alabama (Germany): Mearsheimers Latest Talk On The War In Ukraine Mearsheimer made two major points:
Ukraine can not win this war because the kill ratio in this war is in its disfavor. Mearheimer estimates that two Ukrainians die for one Russian soldier but says that many of his friends think that the ratio is more like 3:1 or 4:1. The reason for this is the WWI-style static war in which artillery is the most deadly weapon. Russia has an immense artillery advantage. During an offensive the attacker will often have more casualties than the defender. But in this war the Ukraine side has been (counter-)attacked most of the time while the Russians defended.
The Ukraine also has a much smaller population than Russia. The current ratio is about 5 Russians for 1 Ukrainian. With a much smaller population and much higher casualties the Ukraine will run out of able bodies way before Russia does.
Mearsheimer expects that Russia, which already has incorporated four Ukrainian oblast plus Crimea, will take another four oblast from Ukraine. (I predicted this on February 24 2022, the day the war began. Those eight oblast plus Crimea are historically Russian land inhabited by Russian people. During the last thirty years they have consistently voted for pro-Russian candidates while the people in west Ukraine consistently opted for anti-Russian candidates.) Ukraine will end up as a dysfunctional (and poor) rump state.
Mearsheimer says that there will be no peace agreement in Ukraine. The war is seen by both sides as existential.
A neo-Nazi militia launched a cross-border raid from Ukraine into Russia’s Belgorod region on Monday using US armored vehicles, Financial Times reported Tuesday.
Denis Nikitin, leader of the Russian Volunteer Corps, said his fighters who attacked Belgorod were in possession of US armored vehicles, including at least two M1224 MaxxPro armored vehicles, known as MRAPs, and several Humvees. Videos and pictures posted by Russia’s military corroborated Nikitin’s claims.
Nikitin is a well-known extremist who has ties to neo-Nazis across the world and has his own white nationalist clothing line. According to Financial Times, the Russian Volunteer Corps “includes self-avowed neo-Nazis.”
The group was formed in 2022 and is said to be comprised of Russian citizens who have volunteered to fight for Kyiv. Some of its members signed up to fight in the Donbas war back in 2014 and are Azov Battalion veterans.
Nikitin would not say how his fighters acquired the US-made armored vehicles. Ukrainian intelligence officials have acknowledged that they cooperate with the Russian Volunteer Corps and another group that launched the assault, the Freedom of Russia Legion.
Moon of Alabama on F-16s to Ukraine: [They have one jet engine, which gets ruined if it sucks up rocks on the runway. They need vacuum-cleaned runways.]
A few days ago U.S. President Joe Biden announced the training of Ukrainian pilots for the F-16 multirole fighter aircraft: President Joe Biden told G7 leaders on Friday that the US would join in efforts to train Ukraine’s pilots on fourth generation fighter jets including the F-16s, a senior administration official told CNN on Friday.
This has obviously been in the planning for some time. The timing of the announcement at the G7 summit was simply chosen to maximize the propaganda value for Biden...
..I had assumed that F-16 training had in fact already started several weeks back. The EU blabber mouth Josep Borrell now all but confirmed it...
..The process will be much faster than many assume.
The jets the Ukraine will get have already been selected and will go through ready maintenance. The Ukrainian pilots, who already have some experience on other fighter jets, will get just a short introduction course - six to eight weeks or even less. They do not need to train air to air fights because the F-16 would lose any such fight against the newer and better armed Russian jets. They just need to learn the basics, starting, landing, going up to a certain height and launch point, release whatever long range weapon will be on board. Anything else would be suicide.
The big question is where to start and land from. The F-16 has a relative short combat range of some 500 kilometer and there will be no air to air tankers. There ain't that many airfield that are suitable for the fighter jet's missions...
..Even if a MiG-29 happens to shell out an engine because of the careless placement of a bolt or tool by a mechanic or the ingestion of a bird during flight or take off, the MiG HAS TWO ENGINES which are isolated in separate bays, preventing the destruction of one engine from FOD-ing out the second.
The F-16, by contrast, is definitely not suited for this style of airfield. The bottom of the intake lip sits approximately 30” from the ground with no provision of alternate intake. In addition, all the suction flow of that air comes from the sides, fore, and ground since no air can be ingested from above the engine (that’s where the fuselage is). With no provision for FOD protection or alternate, high-mounted intakes during the entire time spent on the ground, this calls for rigid and inflexible FOD control measures from the location of engine start, to taxiing routes to the runway.
In the USAF, this meant hundreds of maintainers walking at arms-length intervals two to three times a day with eyes on the ground looking for any and every piece of debris that could be ingested by the multi-million dollar vacuum cleaner with only ONE engine we were charged with maintaining. In addition, an almost constant procession of street-cleaners rumbled up and down the flightline, taxiways and runway. Everything had to be spotless lest we risk the aircraft, or worse, the pilots...
..The MiG-29 averages about 11 hrs of maintenance for every ONE hr of flight. The F-16? A whopping increase to 18.5 maintenance hrs for every one hr of flight time. These are per aircraft with experienced crews...
..Well, good luck doing maintenance on the F-16s that will soon sit on those few available and thereby quite vulnerable Ukrainian airfields.
Russian air defenses, from the ground and from the air, can certainly suppress any F-16 flights coming near to them.
The only sensible purpose of those planes is thereby their one or two time use as a launching vehicles for long range missiles like the British Storm Shadow cruise missiles that were given to Ukraine.
The FBI Has Crossed The Rubicon
Caesar broke the rule. He marched on Rome. He didn’t care what the Senators thought. The rest is history. Within a generation, there was no republic.
The FBI has now taken similar action. It has signaled in the clearest possible manner it does not care what the people or their elected representatives think. It will do what it pleases, and the consequences be damned.
The recently released Durham report paints a graphic picture of an agency out of control. The FBI did not blunder into an investigation of Donald Trump, his campaign, and his associates. The FBI undertook to deliberately destroy Trump and those around him including General Flynn. The FBI took unto itself the power to decide who could be President...
..The House Oversight Committee is investigating the possibility that the current President of the United States took money from foreign interests, including Communist China, in exchange for policy decisions. In other words, the House is pursuing evidence that suggests pretty strongly that Joe Biden works for Beijing. As part of that investigation, the House has demanded from the FBI copies of reports that apparently show the FBI knew about this some time ago.
The FBI has refused to provide the documents. Meanwhile, there are continuing reports that whistleblowers from within the federal workforce who provide information about the Bidens are being retaliated against and sidelined. In some cases, they have had their security clearances taken away and been suspended without pay. That’s what happens to FBI agents who think Congress is still in charge...
..Meanwhile, the FBI has announced that it destroyed all of the evidence it gathered into the actions of Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and the mountains of foreign money that flowed to the Clintons when Hillary was Secretary of State. This comes after revelations that the FBI shut down four separate investigations into the Clinton campaign in the runup to the 2016 election. While the FBI was manufacturing evidence of a non-existent Trump-Putin connection it was actively covering for Hillary – and it is continuing to do so...
..Three years ago, the FBI was handed Hunter Biden’s laptop which literally drips with evidence not just of corruption but of Chinese intelligence connections to Joe Biden and his associates. As far as anyone can tell, the FBI continues to sit on that computer and intends to take no action of any kind to investigate its contents...
..The FBI no longer answers to the elected representatives of the American people nor does it care what they think. It did not get sloppy. It did not make some errors in judgment. Its leaders decided that they were entitled to do whatever they chose and to ignore our laws, our traditions, and the judgment of the nation’s citizens.
Most importantly, however, nothing that has happened has changed any of that. The FBI is not chastened.
There is No Safe Place in Gaza:
In 2021, Riyad Iskhuntana’s residence was the target of a direct Israeli bombing. “My four kids and my wife were killed in the apartment that I lived in, and they were killed in a brutal way. In one moment, I lost my four kids and my wife,” he testified. “And I remained under the rubble for 12 hours with my youngest daughter, not knowing if my kids had died or not. But eventually they were all dead except me and my youngest daughter.”
Iskhuntana spoke about the traumatic IOF bombing of Gaza on May 12. “Yesterday,” he said, “my neighbor also was bombed, and this even deteriorated the psychological condition of myself and my daughter beyond what we had lived through in 2021. One of the psychological issues that we’re experiencing is that we began to forget things, and now with the restarting of the bombings again, the trauma is back. And we’re scared and trembling all the time.”
Vanishing Demand Shows Why Dollar's Star Has Peaked
The dollar is going through a transition, but it is one that will be gradual. It is not about to be, or likely to be any time soon, supplanted by another currency. But there are mounting signs its luminescence has peaked, and we are moving toward a more multi-polar world.
When we say the dollar’s hegemony has peaked, we should be clear about what we mean. Hegemony is not about price, it is about the dollar’s place in the global financial and economic system. With the currency accounting for 40% of export invoicing, 45% of cross-border bank claims, 60% of FX reserves and 90% of FX transactions, it will take years before its dominance is seriously challenged.
Nonetheless, that process looks to have started, as following four charts demonstrate. In short, demand for the dollar is not rising as it normally would in response to the currency’s near-10% decline since October.
John Rubino, Next Generation Money, Part 1: Texas Re-Imagines The Dollar
This brings us to Texas Senate Bill 2334, which calls for the introduction of a state-run digital currency, backed by gold and/or silver, accepted as legal tender within the state and available to people living anywhere in the world....
..If the Texas digital currency proposal becomes law, money could be spent with a debit card by people anywhere in the world, not just within Texas.
Under the proposed law, the Texas comptroller would create a digital currency based on gold or silver and would be given the authority to mint pure gold or silver coins based on weight.
The coins and the digital currency would be considered legal tender to pay debts and would be “readily transferable … to another person,” according to the bill.
Ellen Brown, Squeezed by the Shorts: Time to Ban Short Selling? Short sellers have made a killing in the recent banking crisis, scalping $14.3 billion from bank stock owners just in March of this year. Short sellers “borrow” stock they don’t own and immediately sell it, driving the price down. Then they buy it back at the lower price, return the stock, and pocket the difference. Bankers say the practice is threatening the stability of the banking system and are calling for a ban on short sales of bank stock. The SEC is expected to decline but is investigating whether the practice constitutes illegal market manipulation intended to deceive investors.
It is argued here that short selling is fraudulent by its very nature – it is a fraud on the legitimate stock owners – and should be banned across the board. But first a closer look at the issues and some recent developments.
I picked this section from an Artificial Intelligence update. "Hallucinations" could be called "confabulations", or "lies", but "lies" would imply conscious intent.GPT-5 Features and Capabilities (Expected)
The hot talk in the industry is that GPT-5 will achieve AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), but we will come to that later on in detail. Besides that, GPT-5 is supposed to reduce the inference time, enhance efficiency, bring down further hallucinations, and a lot more. Let’s start with hallucination, which is one of the key reasons why most users don’t readily believe in AI models.
Naturally Intelligent (took this picture of Jenny in the Austin garden)