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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

There have always been Russians in the Kremlin who for reasons of imperialist or Orthodox ideology considered themselves exceptionalist in politics. That’s to say, as exceptional or more exceptional than the Americans in the White House.

Since Mikhail Gorbachev ruled Russia forty years ago, there have also been Russian exceptionalists who have wanted, not to compete with the Americans for the power to rule the world, but instead to be loved by the Americans and to be loved by them in return, so that they might share rule of the world together as equals.

The Roman imperial tetrarchy was a system of that kind. So were the husband-and-wife or mother-and-son monarchies of England and Europe in the late medieval period.

After the US coup d’état of December 1991 installed Boris Yeltsin to dismantle the Soviet Union and destroy Communist ideology and its system of domestic rule, the American-loving exceptionalists have continued to hold out in the Kremlin and elsewhere in the Russian organs of government, including the media. Not loving America enough has been reason for stopping  rising Russian careerists and censoring their media.

The only holdout strong enough to survive the Gorbachev-Yeltsin putsches and purges has been the Russian military. Because of its success in defeating NATO weapons on the Ukraine battlefield and winning the war against the US, its public approval and voter trust are almost as high as President Vladimir Putin’s.  And so, in due course, it will be the Army and the generals whose personal conduct of the war has given them heroic stature, and who will decide on the succession to Putin when his present term expires in 2030 (he will be 78); or when the constitutional term limit is reached in 2036 (84).

In the politics of the Kremlin succession, this Army red is the counterforce to the Trump red of the America lovers. Red on red is the fight for rule in Russia, and rule of the world for the exceptionalists on both sides.

This makes for colour blindness and other forms of partisanship in the way the official Russian media discuss American politics, especially now. To understand how this works in Moscow, read this newly published essay in the semi-official security analysis internet platform, Vzglyad.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Captain Obvious is an American cartoon hero. In Poland, however, he’s now being set up for prosecution on charges of treason for saying the obvious. That, according to the new Polish government and the US Ambassador in Warsaw, Mark Brzezinski, must not be allowed to be said.

Instead, the Polish Captain O has said that Poland cannot defend itself from a combined Russian-Belarusian attack, and cannot count on the United States and other NATO allies to save it in time.  

Although the Polish General Staff knows this, and so do Poland’s presidency, prime ministry and Sejm (parliament), the Warsaw directorate aims to pay the US, NATO allies, and South Korea more than thirty billion dollars in protection money for Polish, US and NATO readiness in defence of the impossible. From time to time, one of the fantasies of Polish officials is to draw US nuclear weapons on to Polish territory for premium insurance against the Russian invasion risk. President Andrzej Duda last said as much three months ago.

That Poland won’t survive a US-fired nuclear weapon from the Redzikowo base, northwest of Warsaw, is also obvious. Not allowing this to be said is the script, not of Captain Obvious (Kapitan Oczywiste) but of Captain Oblivious (Kapitan Nieświadomy).  

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

There have been many revolutions in the technology and the geography of global cargo transportation. The Portuguese design of caravels to cross the Atlantic and Indian Oceans from the 15th century; the replacement of wind with coal-fired steam in the shipping of the British empire which followed;  and the invention of the petroleum engine for automobiles and aircraft to replace horse and bullock-drawn road carts – these are well known.

The time taken for each revolution from invention to full-capacity operation was not less than one generation.  

The geographic switch of Russia’s export and import trade from west to east, and also from north to south – this too is a revolution in cargo logistics; its scale, speed,  and money cost have not been rivaled before. In Russian terms, it is faster than Joseph Stalin’s Five-Year schemes of industrialization from 1928 to 1942, and has not required force for implementation nor inflicted Stalin’s human casualties. For speed over time, the current Russian logistics revolution will take  five years.

It remains to be seen whether in requiring vast state spending and direct management this new Russian revolution will turn out to be the second nail in the coffin of the oligarch system created by Boris Yeltsin and preserved by Vladimir Putin (lead image). The first nail has been the US and NATO sanctions: they have cut the Russian oligarchs off from the international flow of funds they had designed to move their capital out of Russia, and keep it offshore, untaxed.  

President Putin’s peacetime scheme of deoffshoreization not only failed in returning the oligarchs’ capital, as the archive demonstrates.  It was designed to fail by the legal loopholes which the Kremlin authorized,  and by the capital decontrols managed by Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina  and her patron Alexei Kudrin, Putin’s longtime appointees.   

The transportation revolution now under way was not intended by those oligarchs who have controlled parts of the transportation system, including sea ports, airports, cargo terminals, rail rolling stock and networks, pipelines, road construction, truck and car manufacture, and the like. The story of the failure of the oligarchs to capture state shipping, despite Putin’s encouragement, isn’t yet recognized for the bellwether it is today, after the sanctions war has intensified. Read the book.   

The big picture of Russian cargo shift is plain to view. Less obvious are the bottlenecks in the transportation network, such as the rail lines and ports, and the fierce competition for access to the means of loading, unloading, and movement of cargo across Russia from one market to another. For every cargo bottleneck, the state is now obliged to decide between competing interests and to plan, then produce, the increased carrying capacities required for the lines  moving east and south instead of west and north.

In this newly published analysis of the bottleneck of containers, InfraNews, a leading Russian publication on all forms of transportation, reports what is happening and what is needed to solve the problems of container supply and demand in the short and long term. Note the tone of optimism that solutions will be found shortly, and the lack of political or economic ideology – liberal, corporatist, statist, communist — on how this will be managed.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The Jewish and Christian bibles got the idea down pat.

“For this thing is from Israel,” said one of the writers whose compilation of warnings against worship of idols and competing gods is called the book of Hosea. “A craftsman made it, and it is not God. It will be broken to pieces, that calf of Samaria. For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” That warning comes from the late 8th or early 7th century BC.

Almost eight hundred years later, when Paul of Tarsus (aka Saint Paul) was writing his letter to the Galatian community of Christians, he warned: “A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

The Russian reaction to the attempted assassination of Donald Trump is a combination –  idol, whirlwind, sin, destruction, God, payoff — plus deep suspicion that either President Joseph Biden or Trump’s organization, or both of them, had a hand in fabricating what happened, plus conviction that they are now capitalizing on the outcome for all they are worth.

The official line was given by the Foreign Ministry’s spokesman on sowing the whirlwind. The Kremlin spokesman followed with the calf of Samaria.

“Yesterday,” wrote Maria Zakharova of the Foreign Ministry on Telegram,  “one of the leaders of the Kiev regime, [Kirill] Budanov, openly admitted that Ukrainian intelligence was preparing attempts on the President of Russia. So this attempt was being prepared, again, for American money, without which there would have been no malicious activity of the GUR, the SBU and, in general, Bankova [the presidential office ]. With massive financing and uncontrolled supply of weapons, Washington has created a terrorist structure in Ukraine – the Kiev regime. It is a machine of murders, bombings, exterminations, and terrorist attacks against both political figures and civilians…TheUnited States of America should take stock of its policy of inciting hatred against political opponents, countries and people, and sponsoring terrorism. The bell is already ringing for Washington!”

Dmitry Peskov for President Vladimir Putin said there is “no plan” for the latter to telephone Trump. He then implied the Biden plot by making a qualified denial. “We do not think and do not believe that the attempt to eliminate the presidential candidate Trump was organized by the current authorities, but the atmosphere that was created by this administration in the course of the political struggle, the atmosphere around the candidate Trump, it was that which provoked what today faced with America.”  

Peskov then tipped the Kremlin in Trump’s direction: “After numerous attempts to eliminate the Trump candidate from the political arena using first legal tools, attempts to politically discredit and compromise the candidate, it was obvious for his life to be in danger.”

The state news agency RIA-Novosti tipped even further for Trump. “The assassination attempt on Donald Trump is surprising only because it happened on July 13, and not earlier — a year, three or eight years ago. The upstart, who challenged not only most of the American establishment, but also the ‘Washington swamp’ as such, has risked his head very much all these years… It is clear that now the ‘swamp denizens’ are biting their elbows because they did not think to kill Trump before November 2016:  they underestimated the threat, did not believe in the reality of his victory.”  

Tsargrad, an internet platform of Russian exceptionalism and Orthodoxy, treats Trump as a Russian ally in the war against Biden.    “A bullet in Trump’s head is a blow to Russia: What remains behind the scenes of the assassination attempt on the ex-president of the United States — a real assassination attempt or a staging? The question, in fact, is not idle, especially in relation to Russia. After the appearance of an increasing number of details in the case of the attempted assassination of former US President Donald Trump, a lot of interesting things come up behind the scenes of the assassination attempt… This is the true face of hegemony and the unipolar world: anyone who is against globalism, who stands in its way, is first subject to demonization (through the tools of the abolition culture), then physical elimination…Globalists don’t care about the United States, just like everyone else. They need planetary power, the absolute power of supernational capital. And all countries, including America and Europe itself, are just tools in creating a World Government. Trump is for America and against the World Government. As Putin is for Russia, Xi Jinping is for China, Modi is for India, and Orban, Fico, Marine Le Pen and AfD are for Europe,”

The Russian military sources briefing Moscow’s military bloggers have focused on the evidence as it became available and avoided standing for or against Biden and Trump, making cracks about each of them. Boris Rozhin, director of the Colonel Cassad blog, concluded his series of reports through the Moscow night and into Sunday afternoon: “He [Trump] pulled his head just in time. If he had stayed in a static position like Biden, we’d be living in a slightly different world.”    Note the adverb.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

In the ancient and current doctrine of the law of culpability for killing, the Latin term mens rea  is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt,  in parallel with proof of actus reus. In short, the intention in mind to kill (aka motive) must be in combination with the hands-on act of killing itself.

In the public media trial of the Russian military of guilt for the air raid which hit part of the Okhmatdet Children’s Hospital in Kiev on Monday morning, July 8, the US, NATO and Ukrainian charge is that a Russian missile struck the hospital and exploded, killing 27, and injuring 17 out of more than 1,200 patients and staff in the hospital at the time; 4 children have been counted among the dead, 7 among the wounded.  

The Russian military reports for the day, including Colonel Cassad by Boris Rozhin, indicated that the targets of the Russian missile strikes in the Kiev area were military industry plants and,  as part of the electric war,  at least three electric substations in the city grid.   DTEK, the Ukrainian power utility, has acknowledged in several tweets that its power stations had been hit and were being assessed by DTEK engineers for repair.   

Motive and intention to target the Artyom (Artem) military plant in Kiev   is officially acknowledged by  Russian officials. It is the third attack on the site reported by Ukrainian officials.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Maria Zakharova, the Okhmatdet hospital had been struck by a US-made, Norway-supplied NASAMS air defence missile, fired by a Ukrainian battery attempting to protect the Artyom (Artem) plant. “Many eyewitnesses and other sources have already confirmed that a Western-made NASAMS surface-to-air missile hit a building of the Okhmatdet Hospital for Children in Kiev. Officials on Bankovaya Street [Zelensky regime headquarters] immediately started blaming Russia for deliberately killing children. However, no one said that the Artyom Plant is located next to the affected clinic, and that Defense Ministry buildings and military warehouses are also located next door. Certainly, no one said that pro-Bandera supporters are deliberately deploying air defence systems in residential areas, using civilians as a human shield. The Kiev junta has been using purely civilian enterprises for military purposes for a long time, either using them to assemble and repair military equipment or to store Western-made weapons and military equipment.”  

The Russian representative at the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, currently rotational president of the UN Security Council, told a special council session that the strike on the hospital had been a Ukrainian one, not a Russian one.     He added:  “The X-101 missile would have done a lot more damage to the building it hit [Min 6:52]…if it had been a Russian missile, there would have been nothing left of the building and the children and most of the adults would have been killed rather than wounded [Min 8:20]” Like Zakharova, Nebenzya identified military industrial targets. The two Russian officials have not identified the electric war targets.

They are not lying; they are telling less than the full truth. When that is understood from all the available evidence, there is no mens rea. No conviction in a western court of law. The prosecution’s case is dismissed.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

The latest Russian Defense Ministry daily bulletin was issued on Tuesday afternoon, July 9.  Since then the Pentagon and the White House have been as silent as the tomb.

Make that thirty-five American tombs.

“During the day [July 9],” said the Defense Ministry briefer in Moscow,    “the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation carried out a group strike with high-precision weapons on American HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems prepared for strikes on the territory of Crimea, as well as the venue of an official meeting of the AFU [Armed Forces of the Ukraine] command staff. The objectives of the strike have been achieved. Four US-made HIMARS MLRS launchers were destroyed, as well as up to 35 foreign specialists who serviced them.”

Several hours later, the Pentagon briefer, Major General Pat Ryder, announced “a great kickoff to NATO summit events this week.”  General Ryder wasn’t referring to the largest number of US battlefield deaths ever recorded under hostile Russian fire. He had nothing to say about the Ukraine battlefield action, and the reporters attending failed to ask him about it.

At the White House briefing which followed the Pentagon, the lead announcement was President Joseph Biden’s telephone calls to officials in Texas dealing with Hurricane Beryl; his plan to meet on Thursday with Vladimir Zelensky;  and an assurance that “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine poses a threat to transatlantic security. That’s what it does. And it shows how critical the NATO Alliance is and how important it is to continue to make sure that it is strong, and that’s what the president has been able to do.”  Reporters did not ask about US combat deaths in the Ukraine.

The New York Times also blacked out the report of the Russian strike on the HIMARS batteries, focusing instead on the Kiev targets of the day, and on claims by anonymous US intelligence and other officials that “Russia is unlikely to make significant territorial gains in Ukraine in the coming months as its poorly trained forces struggle to break through Ukrainian defenses that are now reinforced with Western munitions.”  

“You’d think in an election year,” comments a NATO veteran with Afghanistan war service,  “that dead American ‘specialists’ would be an issue. This tells that they [the Biden Administration] are as committed to ‘victory’, or hiding an American defeat, as their [Trump campaign] opponents are.  They are also loath to get into the role they played in getting things to this point.”

That said, what interpretation can President Vladimir Putin and the Russian General Staff give after the 35 US battlefield deaths have been concealed by US officials? Should Moscow conclude that it is now Washington policy to fight Russia, not just to the last Ukrainian, but to the last American?

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

American, British and Canadian troops in NATO’s forward bases in Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania are being told to prepare for deployment to the Ukraine next year. They are also being warned to expect to fight under heavy Russian artillery, missile, guided bomb, and drone strikes.

This message is also intended to slip into the hands of Russian military intelligence and find its way to the Kremlin. There, Moscow sources believe, the intelligence is interpreted as provocation — part of the US and NATO scheme to escalate NATO attacks in the Black Sea and deep into Russian territory, in order to encourage Russian counter-attacks against NATO targets, triggering thereby Article Five of the NATO Treaty and collective NATO force intervention to follow

Additionally, Russian sources interpret the intelligence as confirming that the US will not allow capitulation and replacement of Vladimir Zelensky and his regime in Kiev — so no denazification, which is one of the two main objectives of the Special Military Operation.  Also, no peace terms will be countenanced short of Russian withdrawal from Crimea and the four regions of Novorossiya, and the military defeat of the Russian Army. So, no demilitarization, the second of Russia’s long-term security objectives.

The immediate General Staff response has been to devise “soft” measures to combat the US, UK and other NATO airborne electronic warfare units which are providing guidance, targeting, launch timing and flight manoeuvre of Storm Shadow and ATACMS missiles, as well as coordination of Ukrainian aerial and naval drone strikes.   The Russian command has also unleashed a new round of missile attacks against Ukrainian airfields – Voznesensk and Mirgorod  –  where the bombers launching long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles are based, and where the NATO-supplied F-16s are planned for deployment in a few weeks’ time.   

Under growing domestic pressure to counter attacks as damaging to civilians as the Sevastopol beach strike of June 23,   President Vladimir Putin has been making a sequence of statements of calculated ambiguity, if not of strategic deception. One interpretation of this by security analysts in Moscow is that the president is avoiding the provocation trap, creating instead a record of peace terms he is offering, confident they will be dismissed in Kiev, Brussels, London, and Washington. This is to reserve Russian freedom of action for now, reverse the blame later on.   

On Friday, in Putin’s remarks to the press after meeting at the Kremlin with Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban – currently the rotational president of the European Union Council – Putin repeated his peace terms offer and his expectation of their rejection: “We remain open for a discussion on a political and diplomatic settlement. However, the opposite side only makes clear its reluctance to resolve this issue in this manner. Ukraine’s sponsors continue using this country and its people as a ram, making it a victim in the confrontation with Russia.”   

“We outlined our peace initiative quite recently at my meeting with the senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.  We believe that its implementation would make it possible to end hostilities and begin negotiations. Moreover, this should not just be a truce or a temporary ceasefire, nor should it be a pause that the Kiev regime could use to recover its losses, regroup and rearm. Russia advocates a full and final end to the conflict. The conditions for that, as I have already said, are set out in my speech at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are talking about the complete withdrawal of all Ukrainian troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and from the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. There are other conditions as well.”

Putin is not alone in the war staff – the Stavka  – in suspecting provocation by the Americans and British while they prepare for escalation to direct war. Too, the Stavka recognizes this was Stalin’s problem interpreting intelligence from Tokyo and Berlin, especially Richard Sorge’s cables from December 1940 through the early days of June 1941,    warning of Hitler’s preparations to invade across the Soviet border.

Moscow sources are sure that avoiding Stalin’s catastrophic misjudgement of Hitler’s timing is a priority of Putin’s and of the General Staff’s.  Misjudging the timing of the US coup in Kiev of February 21, 2014, almost cost the loss of Sevastopol and Crimea; misjudging the readiness of Ukrainian forces at Hostemel on February 24, 2022,  cost the lives of at least 300 Russian paratroopers, failed at triggering regime change in Kiev, and doomed the peace negotiations in Istanbul of March 30.  

“We told you so” is not a refrain the Kremlin is hearing now from the General Staff for the first time.   

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

In ancient rhetoric classes, and ever since, it has been taught that combining two negatives in a sentence produces a positive, albeit a version of the truth which has been made ambiguous enough to allow its opposite, a lie.   

So when President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman issues two negatives on two succeeding days in answer to a question about Donald Trump’s plan for ending the war in the Ukraine, the positive truth is the one which the Russian oligarchs, the Central Bank, state officials with family links to the US, and leftovers of the Yeltsin administration are pressing Putin to accept. He is telling them he may do what they ask.

Against them stand the General Staff. Also,  Russian public opinion. Putin is telling them he may do what they ask.

This is what forked tongues are for saying.

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

Since the lethal Sevastopol beach attack on June 23 triggered open criticism of President Vladimir Putin’s military inhibitions,  there has been a Russian counter to the operation of US Air Force (USAF) drones which direct the missile strikes from international airspace over the Black Sea.  

The June 23 missile salvo used US-made and US-crewed ATACMS missiles.

The US Secretary of Defense, General Lloyd Austin, then spoke by telephone on June 25 with his Russian counterpart, Defense Minister Andrei Belousov – their first conversation since Belousov replaced Sergei Shoigu in May. In the Pentagon briefing, nothing was admitted except that it had been the Pentagon which initiated the call, not the Russian side.  

What happened next was that the Defense Ministry announced Belousov had noted “the increased intensity of flights of strategic unmanned aerial vehicles of the United States over the Black Sea” and “instructed the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to take measures of prompt response to provocations”. The Russian Air Force began to attack the US Air Force Global Hawk ((Northrop Grumman RQ-4B) drones in a new way (lead image, right).

Their operation was transferred from Sigonella in Italy to the Kogălniceanu Air Base near Constanta in Romania. The electronic warfare operation to guide Ukrainian missile attacks on Crimea was transferred from drones to manned aircraft, and from the US Air Force (USAF) to the Royal Air Force (RAF). British-made Storm Shadow missiles, fired by Ukrainian aircraft, then replaced the ATACMS, and new attacks begun on Sevastopol.

The Russian reaction has been to destroy the Ukrainian airfields from which these launches began and the aircraft which fired them.  On July 2, the Russian Defense Ministry reported, “as a result of a group strike with precision weapons on an airfield, five Su-27 aircraft of the enemy air force were destroyed and two were damaged. Two more Ukrainian aircraft, MiG-29 and Su-27,  were shot down by Russian air defence.”  The airfield targeted was Mirgorod, near Poltava in the northeast. 

Air evacuation of US ground casualties from the Nikolaev area of the ATACMS launches has been reported by Russian military bloggers through the Polish border hub of Rzeszów.  

This is how the war between the US, UK and Russia is being fought.  The two leading military bloggers, Boris Rozhin of Colonel Cassad and Mikhail Zvinchuk of Rybar, remain skeptical. “There is every awareness [of the Black Sea drone problem] in the decision-making centers. But after all the crossings of the red lines and despite the threatening statements to shoot down the American RQ-4, no one has done so.”  

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by John Helmer, Moscow 
  @bears_with

If you think that Popeye beat Bluto because he ate spinach, this US presidential cartoon, I mean  debate, was for you.

That President Joseph Biden, handicapped as he was by Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy body dementia, won the 90-minute television fight with Donald Trump seems so obvious to Russians, they express surprise at  the near-unanimity in the US that the opposite was the outcome.  

While the Russian state propaganda organs are repeating the “Joe Must Go” line — the US-funded Russian opposition media also   — military and intelligence analysts in Moscow are concluding that Biden and Trump proved they are equally dangerous for Russia, but that Trump is now the candidate for much bigger wars in the Middle East and against China. Replacing Biden, Russian sources believe, is now an operation of the Zionist and Taiwan lobbies in Washington.

“The Democratic party elites started to think of ways to get Biden out of the way,” according to one Moscow source. “so sending him into a long debate, so early in the campaign, was exactly meant to achieve this – he will look bad but there is enough time to replace him.  Republicans have always been this racist but Trump says it more plainly.  Biden has always been a wolf in sheep’s clothing but he can no longer find new words to keep up the charade. What is there to see? America has never been weaker. The important thing to see here [Moscow] is the reluctance to drive American imperial power off the cliff.” 

“Despite Biden’s obvious handicap, I thought he won,” adds a second source. “Biden telling Trump ‘you have the morals of an alley cat’, won it as far as I’m concerned. He also called Trump out on the racism and fascism, something Trump had no answer for except to double down. Didn’t anyone notice Trump’s compulsive repetitiveness? He repeated the same lies and aspersions over and over again. He’s more lucid than Biden, but not by much. He’s an ageing, narcissistic, racist crook.”

The Russian sources also believe that support for Trump in Moscow is an oligarch operation with a similar fondness for Israel. That has been the line of Roman Abramovich since his abortive attempts to save himself from sanctions and defeat the Russian Army failed at the beginning of the Special Military Operation in March and April 2022.   

“I believe,” said one source, “ ‘Joe must go’ because he expressed some trepidation regarding Israel. He was set up — the guns were loaded and cocked before the debate even started.”

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