Ben’s hot-off-the-press talking point outline!

I’ve already printed out my copy. Watch the show he co-hosted this week with China Writers’ Group member Billy Bob (,

Blowback: Exposing Imperial Decline



ROCKIN’ THE FREE WORLD – Nero fiddles while Ukraine burns – don’t you dare collapse until November!

FITSO ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT – Incredible that most Western papers ( like Spiegel ) basically say he deserved it.

GEORGIA MAIDAN 2.0 – It’s exactly like December 2013 ( beginning of maidan, which went on for 3 months )

RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT – The whole thing flew to Beijing. Belousov, Shoigu, Lavrov, Naryshkin, Nabyullina, everyone.



 Blinken arrives – unannounced – in Kiev formally to reassure Ukraine of the US’ steadfast support:

┝ ‘You are not alone, we’ve been with you since day one, will be with you until security, sovereignty guaranteed’

┝ He acknowledges that ‘the next couple of months will be difficult’ – I think referring to full mobilization to fight Russia

┝ He announced that weapons were on their way, which would change Russian ‘momentum’

┝ He also announced  new $2b package of ‘military aid’ meant to bolster USUkraine ‘defense industrial capability’

┝ He said the US does not support strikes on Russian territory, but Ukraine can ‘decide for Itself’ how to wage war

┝ He announced that the US intends to confiscate Russian assets – power given to it by Congress ( $5b total )

┝ He legitimated Elensky presidency saying ‘there will be no election until all can vote, no matter the war’

┝ He talked about the weakening of democracy by corruption in Ukraine – and ‘Putin weaponizing it’

┝ Talked about Elensky and Biden meeting ‘in coming weeks’ to sign security agreement of some kind,

┝ Reiterated the United States’ support for the so-called Swiss Peace Summit

┝ Then he went to a Nazi themed pizzeria to grab a slice with Kuleba, said it was very good!

┝ Belted out ‘Rockin in the Free world’ – same place or a dive bar? – on stage. Neil Young, for god’s sake.

┕ Posted a photo with Kuleba about the Wall of Remembrance to honor brave Ukrainians on X.


┝ Presses for US to ‘remove shackles’ and let Ukraine strike targets in Russia, blames this for Kharkov failed defense

┝ Asks for two Patriot systems to defend Kharkov – immediately – because ‘everyone is under Russian missiles’

┝ Cancels his travel plans, which included Spain to sign bilateral defense cooperation agreement.

┝ Travels to ‘Kharkov’ with Syrsky to announce the situation was ‘generally under control’

┝ Gives a quick interview to ABC there, venting disappointment and frustration with Blinken visit ‘the world’s fault’

┕ Records a wee video next to the Kharkov city limit sign – this usually means one thing.


┝ US Chairman JCOS Charles Brown says NATO sending trainers appears inevitable. ‘We’ll get there eventually, over time’

┝ UK Shadow Defense / Foreign secretaries LammyHealey visited Kiev to reassure Ukraine of Labor would keep backing it.

┕ Czech President Petr Pavel gave a Sky News interview, in favor of ceasefire talks regaining occupied territories is naïve


– 404: Putin is preparing for a forever war – Andrei Belousov warning to the West – Russia not backing down ( Telegraph UK ☄ )

– 404: Ukraine faces decisive battle as Russian forces surge – ‘If Kharkov falls, Western resolve may soon follow’ ( Politico EU )

– 404: Smelling weaknessRussia presses advantage in Donetsk area – 3villages, assault on Chasov Yar ( Kyiv ‘Independent’ )

– 404: White House worries Russia’s momentum is changing trajectory of Ukraine war – Biden aides / Korea ceasefire ( NYT )

– 404: Putin could now defeat Ukraine within months – act now to prevent new world war – Hamish DBG ( Telegraph UK ☄ )

– 404: Kharkov fight aims to disintegrate Ukraine’s army – probably not there to take city – Stephen Bryen ( Asia Times )

– 404: Putin’s defense shake-up is a danger for Ukraine – Putin’s ‘musical chairs’ – basically a war economy ( NYT ☄ )

– 404: Time is running out for Ukraine to snatch victory from Putin’s jaws – may not ever recover ( Telegraph UK ☄ )

– 404: Facing Russian advance, a top Ukrainian general paints a bleak picture – no reserves – Budanov ( NYT )

– 404: Russia advances on new front, stretching outnumbered Ukrainian troops – as they await US aid ( WSJ )


– 404: ErmakRasmussen ‘task force’ demands $300b assets | 0.25% GDP of NATO allies | membership in June ( official site )

– 404: Power cuts in Ukraine may last until August – Prime Minister’s advisor Yuri Boyko ( Kyiv ‘Independent’ )

– 404: Anti-corruption group reveals fake companies in Kharkov fortification contracts ( NVo Ukraine )


– USC: China and Russia to shore up ‘no limits’ partnership with Thursday meetup – war rages on with Beijing‘s support ( WaPo )

– USC: Russia launched research spacecraft for ‘anti satellite nuclear weapon’ two years ago – US officials ( WSJ Exclusive )

– USC: Putin arrives in China amid global consternation over Ukraine war – ending US dominance in world affairs ( WaPo )

– RUC: Putin is selling Victory, and many Russians are buying it – fighting against Western world – and winning ( NYT )

– USC: Putin and Xi vow to step up fight to counter US ‘containment’ – China key ally against Ukraine ( Bloomberg )


– EUK: Russia accused of using German anti-war protests for propaganda – fringe demo to ‘split Ukraine’ ( Bloomberg Exclusive )

– EUK: Putin and Xi are being handed a terrifying victory – blundering US > axis of evil to destroy free world ( Telegraph UK ☄ )

– EUK: China‘s Xi welcomes Putin as Moscow gains ground in Ukraine – authoritarian leaders underscore unity ( Euronews )

– EUK: Putin and Xi vow to co-operate against destructive and hostile US – tightening military and economic ties ( FT UK )

– EUK: ChinaRussia – an economic ‘friendship’ that could rattle the world – Beijing‘s ‘geopolitical ambitions’ ( FT UK )

– EUK: Why growing ChinaRussia military ties worry the west – ‘forcing’ Pentagon and allies to react ( FT UK )

– EUK: Russia has stopped the UN from monitoring North Korea sanctions. Who is watching Kim? ( FT UK )

– RUC: Putin’s trip to China may show US threats are wishful thinking – Alexandra Prokopenko ( FT UK ☄ )

– EUK: Putin and Xi summit – carefully crafted to reinforce division between East and West ( Times UK )

– EUK: EU backs sanctions on Russian propaganda outlets – 14th sanctions package ( Euractiv )

– EUK: EU fighting to counter China’s influence in global south – ‘a battle of offers’ ( FT UK )

– EUK: Despite Western pressure, China in no hurry to reduce Russia support ( Euractiv )


– RUC: Russia and China are ‘stabilizing’ the world – not opportunistic or directed against anyone – Putin tells Xi ( Telegraph UK )

– RUC: Vladimir Putin blasts west ahead of state visit to Beijing – Western elites to blame for Ukraine – Xinhua ( FT UK )

– RUC: Join hands for future success of RussiaChina partnership – Vladimir Putin interview ( Xinhua CN )

– RUC: West wants ‘color revolutions’ in Central Asia – Deputy FM Mikhail Galuzin at Valdai ( RT RU )



┝ The Foreign Agent Law passed final reading on Tuesday, 15 May

┝ President Bitchvili hosts Baltic and Icelandic FMS and assures them she will veto the law in Tbilisi

┝ President Salome Zourabichvili was born/raised in Paris, was a French diplomat, became Georgian in 2004 – at age 52

┝ President Bitchvili tells the nation’s military leaders that the enemies are within, pretty much pointing at Georgian Dream.

┝ Prime minister Irakli Kobakhidze in turn thanks everyone except the president, who he calls a traitor.

┝ Above foreign ministers ( as well as German Foreign Affairs committee head ) take part in the protests. True Maidan.

┕ Speaker of parliament Papuashvili accused foreign ministers of wanting to overthrow Georgian government-


– USC: Silencing independent voices Is not the way to join the West – Georgia law moves country into Kremlin‘s orbit ( NYT ☄ )

– USC: US warns Georgia not to side with Moscow against the West – US funding to be pulled – Jim O’Brien ( Guardian UK )


– EUK: EU Commission wants registry for foreign lobbyists – aimed at Putin but ‘friendly’ NGOs may get caught up ( Politico EU )

– EUK: ‘Far-right’ German party may threaten democracy, can be spied on, court rules – classified ‘suspected extremist’ ( WaPo )

– EUK: Ursula von der Leyen unveils plan for ‘European Democracy Shield from foreign interference if re-elected ( Euronews )

– EUK: Borrell denounces Georgia law, demands withdrawal – wanted EU joint statement, but HunSlo vetoed ( Euronews )

– EUK: Georgia ‘returning to the past’ with foreign agents law, says president tells EU foreign ministers ( Guardian UK )

– EUK: We can be on the path to the EU or to Belarus – political thug culture grips Georgia – protestors ( Politico EU )

– EUK: Bidzina IvanishviliGeorgia’s billionaire ‘puppet master’ betting the house on Moscow ( Guardian UK )

– EUK: Georgia is now governed by Russia: how the dream of freedom unraveled ( Guardian UK )


┝ Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot Wednesday afternoon – 4 shots fired, two hit in stomach and arm

┝ First he is ‘out of danger’ undergoing surgery in regional hospital in Handlova, too much time would be lost if airlifted.

┝ He is reported to be in ‘life-threatening condition’ after shooting – ‘the next few hours will decide’ – in the evening.

┝ He survives surgery, is conscious and no longer in life-threatening condition the next day, but weak – reports new President

┝ Orbán and Vucic immediately announce they will visit him in hospital, express shock and wish him a quick recovery.

┝ Western leaders do the shocked treatment, but Western media intimates he is responsible for a ‘divided country’:

 │┝ He has ‘rolled back democracy in his country’, is a ‘strongman’, ‘pro-Putin’, ‘pro-Orbán’, one of the ‘holdouts’ vs EU policy

 │┕ He is a former communist, he is corrupt, the government is using his assassination to crack down on dissent.

┝ The shooter Juraj Cintula is labeled a  ‘lone wolf’ and 71-year old ‘poet’ in Western media

┝ It turns out he founded anti-government movement, loves to protests, and supports Ukraine.

┝ His wife ( now detained ) is Ukraine refugee, who methodically urged her husband to take revenge.

┕ Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok says shooting was politically motivated, the country is on the verge of civil war.


– USC: What to know about Robert Fico, veteran politician who has aligned himself with Viktor Orban of Hungary ( NYT )

– USC: Who is Fico, the Slovakian PM who was shot? – campaigned on pro-Russian, anti-American platform ( WaPo )

– USC: NATO‘s force can’t overcome ‘enemies within‘ – Fico shooting highlights difficulties ahead ( Bloomberg ☄ )

– USC: Attempted assassination of Slovak leader puts Europe on edge – ally of Putin and Orbán ( NYT )


– EUK: Who is Robert Fico? Slovakia’s Russia-friendly PM – former Communist – ’embroiled in corruption charges’ ( Times UK )

– EUK: Who is the 71-year-old poet suspected of shooting the Slovakian PM? Juraj Cintula has a creative past‘ ( Times UK )

– EUK: Why is Slovakia among Europe‘s most politically polarized countries? Pro-west liberals face antagonism ( Euronews )

– EUK: Lone wolf suspect charged in shooting of Slovak PM Robert Fico – attempt was politically motivated ( Euronews )

– EUK: EU ‘actively monitoring’ ‘spread of disinformation’ on Fico shooting – can punish platforms ( Bloomberg )  

– EUK: What Robert Fico’s shooting reveals about Russia’s influence – Putin revels in the chaos ( Times UK )

– EUK: Fico’s assassination attempt reveals Slovakia’s serious polarization – ‘deep divisions ( Euractiv )

– EUK: Prime Minister shot – How Fico poisoned the political climate in his country ( Spiegel DE )

– EUK: How Slovakia’s toxic politics left the Prime Minister fighting for his life ( FT UK )


– EUK: High debt levels put Europe at risk of ‘adverse shocks’ – ECB warns > vulnerable to tensions / high interest rates ( FT UK )

– EUK: French, Dutch seek EU sanctions on global financial institutions aiding Russia – MECN-TÜR – 14th ( Reuters Exclusive )

– EUK: Titanic shipyard risks closure after 160 years – British Navy ships may be built in Spain if Belfast closes ( Times UK )

– EUK: Europe sleepwalking in the struggle for globalization – US destroys free trade EU lacks power to save it ( FAZ DE )

– EUK: How Türkiye became Putin’s pit stop for camouflaged fuel to EU – €3b through sanctions loophole ( Politico EU )

– EUK: EU buys less LNG – and more Russian pipeline gas again – like before the Ukraine war ( Berliner Zeitung DE )

– EUK: How entanglement with China erodes Germany‘s strategic autonomy – Andreas Fulda ( RUSI UK )


– USC: Biden announces China tariffs : 25% steel / aluminium, 50% semiconductors, 100% Evs, 50% solar panels ( official X )

– USC: Global chips battle intensifies with $81 billion subsidy surge – US, EU doing what they scorned China for ( Bloomberg )

– USC: Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio warns of danger of US debt on Treasury market – debt, conflict, civil war ( FT UK )

– USC: US copper prices soar to record high as funds pile in – gap between US and UK is largest on record ( FT UK )

– USC: US warned Raiffeisen Bank access to dollar system could be curbed over Russian ties ( Reuters Exclusive )

– USC: US jamming technology is significantly worse than Russia‘s, ex-Pentagon officials warn ( Business Insider )

– USC: Microsoft’s emissions jump almost 30% as it races to meet AI demand – building out data centers ( FT UK )

– USC: America is pulling up the drawbridge – tired of upholding 1945 economic rules – Edward Luce ( FT UK ☄ )

– USC: The US is still falling behind ‘adversaries’ on electronic warfare, special operators warn ( Defense One )

– USC: Yellen hopes China doesn’t mount ‘significant’ trade retaliation – new tariffs on China ( Bloomberg )

– USC: Boeing Starliner launch delayed again – this time due to a leak – new date is May 21 ( Times UK )

– USC: Microsoft asks hundreds of China-based staff to consider relocating to West ( WSJ Exclusive )

– USC: Boeing jet forced to make an emergency landing after engine catches fire ( NYP )


– ASO: Japan’s economy shrinks again as inflation hits consumers’ pocketbooks  – weak yen, gasoline and food up ( WSJ )

– ASO: Japan to take on servicing US F-15 ad F-16 fighter jets – used to be done in South Korea ( Nikkei )

– ASO: Chabahar port – US says sanctions possible after IndiaIran port deal – Vedant Patel ( BBC )


– USC: US encouraging Arab states to join multinational postwar force in Gaza – EgyptUAEMorocco ‘considering’ ( FT UK )

– USC: What a ‘free Palestine‘ means in practice – an Islamist state that persecutes Jews and denies real freedom ( NYT ☄ )

– USC: Biden advances $1 billion in arms for Israel amid Rafah tensions – despite pausing shipment last week ( WaPo )

– USC: Israel needs clear plan for Gaza’s future – Rafah op has had ‘negative impact’ – Antony Blinken ( TO Israel )


– EUK: EU urges Israel to end Rafah op ‘immediately’ or risk strain on relationship – Borrell ( TO Israel )


– ISR: Israel to abolish free trade deal with Turkey in retaliation – 100% tariffs on imports until Erdogan‘s term ends ( Reuters )

– ISR: Netanyahu says pointless to discuss ‘day after’ until Hamas is destroyed following Blinken call for plan ( Guardian UK )


– UN: Israel calls UN a terror organization as tensions escalate over Gaza – collaborator with Hamas – Gilad Erdan ( FT UK )

– UN: International Court of Justice weighing order for Israel to halt Rafah operation ( WaPo )


– PAL: Israeli forces push into Rafah city as nearly 450,000 flee fighting – thousands of tents disappear ( WaPo )

– PAL: ‘Barbaric’ – Palestinian lorry drivers recount settlers’ attack on Gaza aid convoy ( Guardian UK )

– PAL: Palestinians mark 76th anniversary of the ‘catastrophe’ – Nakba – in West Bank ( WaPo )

– PAL: 600,000 people have fled RafahUN says, amid Israeli operation in the city ( WaPo )

– PAL: Satellite images show Gazans forced to cram into Al-Mawasi tent city ( FT UK )


– WEA: Yemen‘s Houthi rebels claim attack on US destroyer and commercial vessel in the Red Sea ( Guardian )

– WEA: Yemen downs another MQ-9 ‘reaper’ drone, I think this makes it the 4th ( photos, videos )


APPENDIX : Videoclips

– Putin arrived in Beijing :

– Russian Chinese secret service moment :

– Putin-Xi the hug :

– German MP at maidan :

– Baltics, Iceland at maidan :

– On stage, german music:


☄ = Opinion piece

USC = United States + Canada

RUC = Russia + China

EUK = Europe + United Kingdom | 404 = Ukraine

WEA = West Asia, formerly Middle East | ISR = Israel | PAL = Palestine

ASO = Australia + Oceania

AFR = Africa

LAT = Latin America

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