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Galindez reports: "Specialist Jirhleah Showman testified that she then looked at Manning, tapped the flag on her shoulder, and asked, 'What does this mean to you?' Showman said Manning told her that the flag did not mean anything to him."

Bradley Manning's former team leader is cross examined by David Coombs, while Judge Denise Lind looks on. (art: Kay Rudin/RSN)
Bradley Manning's former team leader is cross examined by David Coombs, while Judge Denise Lind looks on. (art: Kay Rudin/RSN)


Team Leader Suddenly Remembers Manning Insulted the Flag

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

20 July 13

 

RSN Special Coverage: Trial of Bradley Manning

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pecialist Jirhleah Showman was Manning's team leader prior to deployment in Iraq. During a counseling session with Manning, Showmen said she asked Manning why he joined the military and he replied, "To get an education." Showmen testified that she then looked at Manning, tapped the flag on her shoulder, and asked, "What does this mean to you?" Showman said Manning told her that the flag did not mean anything to him.

During cross examination, David Coombs asked Showman if Manning had made disloyal comments, why she not write him up. Showman said she took the matter to her superiors, who informed her that they would handle the matter. One of those superiors is on the defense's rebuttal list.

Coombs also asked if Manning told her that "you can't have blind loyalty to a flag," and that "we have duty to all people from every country." She did not recall.

Coombs then brought forth counseling reports of sessions Showman had with Manning, including a recommendation for "soldier of the month."

After a long exchange on why she did not pursue the matter, Coombs moved to the period after Manning's arrest. Coombs presented two sworn statements Showman had made to investigators. Neither statement included any mention of Bradley Manning saying he had no loyalty to the flag.

In a later written statement, she does report Manning's statement about the flag, but according to Coombs it's almost treated as an afterthought in the report.

Showman's Superiors Rebut Her Testimony

One of Specialist Showman's superiors, Chief Warrant Officer 1 Balanek, testified that he did not hear any reports of Manning's disloyal statements. He testified that he felt the charge was serious and should have been reported in writing.

Sergeant Adkins then took the stand. Adkins was the sergeant Showman said she reported the disloyal statement to. He did not recall ever hearing Manning make a statement that was disloyal to America. Adkins also testified that he didn't recall Specialist Showman reporting to him that Manning said the flag meant nothing to him. Open and shut you say? Showman was lying? Not so fast.

When asked if he didn't recall or didn't remember, Adkins testified that he has suffered from memory loss since a fall in Iraq in 2004. He testified that he regularly suffered from memory loss and raised the issue with his chain of command. Adkins deployed with his unit in 2009 despite the memory loss. Showman testified that she went to Atkins on more than one occasion seeking action on Manning's statements. Adkins doesn't recall ever talking to Showman about Manning prior to deployment to Iraq.

On cross examination, the Army showed Adkins a memorandum he wrote in 2011, in which he stated that Specialist Showman properly testified that he informed Major Clausen, the officer in charge, that Manning had made disloyal statements concerning the flag. Asked by the Army why Adkins didn't file a disciplinary report on Manning prior to deployment, he testified that they needed bodies on the deployment and they felt they had sufficient systems in place to control Manning.

The document that the Army produced during cross examination was part of an appeal of a rank reduction for Sergeant Adkins. Coombs then presented him with an earlier document that conflicts with the document that said Showman correctly testified that he (Adkins) had told Major Clausen that Manning had made statements disloyal to the flag or the United States. Adkins read the document to himself and agreed that it also showed he had no knowledge at the time that Manning made disloyal statements.

On redirect Coombs also showed Adkins sworn statements regarding the investigation of Bradley Manning post-arrest. When asked if he had referred to any disloyal statements about the flag or America in the documents, Adkins asked for time to review. After about a five minute review, Adkins said no. When Coombs asked him if he would have included those allegations in the statements if he knew about them, Adkins said yes.

Both sides ended their rebuttal, putting an end to that phase of the trial.

Closing arguments will begin Thursday, July 25th. The judge will take several days to reach a verdict.

The sentencing phase will begin on Wednesday, July 31st.



Scott Galindez was formerly the co-founder of Truthout, and is now the Political Director of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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+82 # Michael_K 2013-07-20 06:43
Loyalty "to the flag"!? How precious and special!

How about loyalty to the Constitution, for a nice change?????
 
 
+53 # Feral Dogz 2013-07-20 08:44
How about loyalty to human decency and basic morality? Flags and pieces of paper are handy tools of tyranny. A constitution is only as good as those charged with upholding it.
 
 
-15 # 666 2013-07-20 09:08
isnt the oath about loyalty to the constitution? or has been it too been changed by obama...

welcome to the 2 minutes Hope
 
 
+12 # rockieball 2013-07-21 05:18
Yes it is and it also applies to those giving the orders just as much as it applies to those taking them.
Don't blame Obama for it. I would say everyone in the last administration from the idiot G.W down violated their oath and so did anyone who voted for the Patriot Act.
 
 
+1 # dquandle 2013-07-22 15:18
Obama voted for the extension of the "Patriot Act", as a filthy senator, and continued to push for it as an even more despicable president.
 
 
+3 # dquandle 2013-07-22 15:13
Yes indeed it is, and indeed the only loyalty Obama considers is loyalty to his regime, the corporate masters it serves, its power, and the secrecy he demands in preventing his heinous abuses of power, and those of his predecessors, from ever seeing the light of day.

But it didn't change with Obama. Loyalty to the constitution and its meaning and intent has been completely absent from regimes in Washington for decades. The most egregious recent instances of this absence have occurred under Clinton/Bush/Ch eney/Obama.
 
 
+40 # Smiley 2013-07-20 09:33
When loyalty to the flag becomes more meaningful than loyalty to the constitution it symbolizes we have a huge disconnect and a big problem.
 
 
+20 # A_Har 2013-07-20 13:36
If we don't have a country wherein the constitution and the rule of law applies, well then, the flag is merely a rag on top of a pole.

It is utterly meaningless and a symbol of nothing.
 
 
+12 # Doubter 2013-07-20 17:40
I call it "symbol worship."
 
 
+12 # Kootenay Coyote 2013-07-20 18:40
Another word is /Idolatry/
 
 
+3 # maddave 2013-07-22 22:00
This "disloyalty" thing is absolute bullshit! I retired w/30 years in the military and I frequently talk to young enlistees, beginning with the question: "Why did you enlist?" The answers are almost invariably "For the educational benefits." ; "I needed a job and this one pays good."; or "I wanted to get away from (Podunk.)" The wild card is the occasional "For the excitement (or travel)."
NOT ONCE have I been told anything even resembling "Loyalty to th Flag"; "I love the Constitution." or "To preserve Freedom.".

IMake no mistakes! The United States' all volunteer Army is, by definition, a mercenary force, and mercenary forces are obliged to follow orders - within the limits set in Post WW II War Crimes Trials in Nuremberg Germany.

To accuse Manning of a "crime" for not falling prostrate before this woman's shoulder patch is prime face evidence of the Kangaroo nature of this trial. Fully 95+% of his comrades in arms would have given the exact same response as Manning is "accused" of giving.
 
 
+22 # db4635 2013-07-20 06:53
This flag testimony is like testimony in the Zimmerman trial that Trayvon had a minute amt of weed in his blood. Manning is not on trial for "disloyal" to a flag. Did he or did he not steal classified information? Without any doubt he did so he is guilty of this charge. Did he or did he not disclose that information in a manner harmful to the United States? Officials say "yes," so let them prove it.
 
 
+28 # Phlippinout 2013-07-20 07:50
He bravely did show us how corrupt the whole war was and is! You have loyalty whether your government is acting legally or illegally. Some of us dont. Its that simple.
 
 
+22 # luvdoc 2013-07-20 06:54
The flag is more of an insult to U.S. citizens than otherwise.
luvdoc
 
 
+61 # Erdajean 2013-07-20 07:12
Oh this is so GROSS, years of torture and then put on trial by the Lilliputans. How convenient that this hag of a witness suddenly REMEMBERS the most condemning thing a human being can do to a nation of his fellow humans -- "insulting the flag."
It seems to me that the Bible forbids giving divinity to such symbols and images. But of course this "Christian" nation -- or so some have declared it -- knows nothing about that.
 
 
+8 # Feral Dogz 2013-07-20 08:50
Swearing oaths is forbidden in the Bible.

Jas. 5-12
 
 
+18 # fliteshare 2013-07-20 11:59
So is working on Sunday.
But owning slaves is quite OK in that very same Bible.
 
 
+11 # NOMINAE 2013-07-20 14:57
Quoting fliteshare:
So is working on Sunday.
But owning slaves is quite OK in that very same Bible.


No Kidding ! Great point !

So is killing the "disobedient child".

So is killing all of the men, women, children and animals of any tribe Moses encounters out there in the desert, if said tribe "be not Semitic". If said tribe BE Semitic, then gawd *still* requires the killing of all the men, women and children "save those females who have not yet known man by lying with him". (You can also keep Semitic livestock, it seems)

BTW, sparing the Semitic virgin females is not practiced only so the men can have a good time and add to the tribe. Apparently Semitic virgins brought a good price at the market bazaars back in the day.

And we wonder how long it will take to "eradicate" racism in this country ? In the old Testament, GAWD is a vicious racist, and "he" is *compelling* Moses to racist genocide !

Yeah..... "read your bible" my ear ! If you DO it will give you nightmares for a month ! ;-)

Racism, or fear of the "other", is hardwired into the human. It takes conscious effort to overcome the "wiring".

It can, obviously BE done, but it does take conscious effort to effectively overcome the hardwiring.

If, however, children are not *raised* to fear and hate the "other", eventually we can at least abate the virulence of our culturally reinforced ( and in some areas, culturally celebrated) racism.
 
 
0 # Nebulastardust 2013-07-28 14:17
So is rape; children brides and a host of other things.
 
 
+69 # aljoschu 2013-07-20 07:13
Are we still living in the 18th century when a disrespectful remark regarding "the flag" meant a death sentence? - What kind of ancient understanding is this?

Sorry, but a flag does not deserve respect! A flag is a thing - nothing more. Human beings deserve respect - and Mr Manning is a human being.

Some people - though not all (thank God!) - believe God deserves respect. OK. But the bible says "Thou shalt not have false or graven images or other gods before me!"

So why is America setting the flag in a godly position? - This is pure blasphemy!

In modern times only fascist states are known to elevate symbols to become idols endowed with meanings beyond the human sphere. And they do this in order to oppress and humiliate individuals.

Is that what America has become?
 
 
+28 # Phlippinout 2013-07-20 07:52
The flag is like a golden calf, not meant to be worshipped.
 
 
+11 # NOMINAE 2013-07-20 15:28
Quoting Phlippinout:
The flag is like a golden calf, not meant to be worshipped.


Absolutely ! The flag is $2.39 cents worth of nylon made in Taiwan ! Get a grip !

The flag is supposed to be a *symbol* of America the Country. NOT the government currently in power, or the military that backs that current gov't.

If one cannot say what one will regarding a *symbol*, then Phlippinout has nailed it ! The freakin' flag has become a much cheaper and seedier version of the golden calf.

My view above does not, of course, effectively reinforce the careful and costly brain washing with which the military inculcates all arriving troops.

However, back in the Vietnam era, a soldier or a sailor could NOT be reported to a superior simply for failing to kowtow to, and/or for making an IRREVERENT comment about, some silly ten cent patch sewn on to some fanatic's sleeve.

Most of us KNOW we are Americans. Most were BORN in America. we really don't need "flag patches", or silly damned lapel pins to *remind* us of what country we live in.

It's not as if this country is so small that we risk thinking we are Ugandan if we can't refer to our pins and patches to get our "bearings". This simple-minded "rah, rah, rah, sis-boom-bah" kind of "patriotism is just the *rankest* kind of "ism" !

The *present* military, between it's forced flag worship and forced religious fanaticism in the ranks would see ME spending my entire enlistment in the brig !
 
 
+15 # Brooklynite 2013-07-20 08:01
I believe in God wholeheartedly, but I have very good friends who don't and I don't believe they are "going to hell"[sic.]. As a believer in God, I think that the way so many U.S. believers in God worship a piece of cloth is truly idolatry and blasphemy.

But technically speaking, it is illogical to charge someone who doesn't believe in God with blasphemy -- how can they blaspheme something they don't believe. (Incidentally that's not an issue with my set of atheist friends as none of them idolize the U.S. flag. Heck, if they did, I guess they wouldn't be atheists, they'd be theists, who God was a piece of cloth!

One more god tangent -- for me it is my belief in God that makes me so against oppression and dehumanization of human beings.

Anyway, aljoschu, what you say about modern fascist states is so pointedly applicable to this plutocracy.
 
 
+3 # maddave 2013-07-22 22:18
When a flag wears out in the U S Navy, a quiet ceremonial retirement is held before the old flag is burned.

When a flag wears out in the Royal (British) Navy, it is put to the practical work of shining brightwork.

But we have 2,400,000 people (and counting) in American Jails, probably nearly 50% for non-violent, victimless crimes, we try minors adults (and lock them up for life); and we still execute certified mentally deficient prisoners.

Draw your own conclusions.
 
 
+30 # tedrey 2013-07-20 07:37
Since the behavior of the U.S. military in the past generation has done more to degrade the once-noble meaning of the American flag to one of aggression and brutality, I think that it is the career military that should be brought to account for the disrespect that may be shown it, rather than those like Bradley Manning who have tried to restore its pristine honor.
 
 
+34 # angelfish 2013-07-20 07:43
It AMAZES me that these Cretins don't see the harm they are doing with this "Witch Hunt" to prove Bradley Manning a traitor. It is THEY who have abused and distorted truth and justice and look more and more asinine as the hours pass. "Loyal to the Flag"? HELLO? The "flag" no longer means much of ANYTHING since the Neo-Cons have been wrapping their Trash in it since Reagan's Inauguration! Puhleeze. The Case is CLOSED! Next Case!
 
 
+21 # Candide 2013-07-20 07:52
Aside from the comparison with the faithful daughter in King Lear who suffered after refusing to mouth superficial statements yet was the only loyal daughter after her sisters used and abused their father the king, it's Bradley Manning's faithfulness to his oath to defend the constitution that has led to this travesty of "justice."

For a reminder that this is an old story, check out the plot summary this or any of a number of other sources. Better yet, read the play.

http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/lear/summary.html

The opening 'graph:

"Lear, the aging king of Britain, decides to step down from the throne and divide his kingdom evenly among his three daughters. First, however, he puts his daughters through a test, asking each to tell him how much she loves him. Goneril and Regan, Lear’s older daughters, give their father flattering answers. But Cordelia, Lear’s youngest and favorite daughter, remains silent, saying that she has no words to describe how much she loves her father. Lear flies into a rage and disowns Cordelia...."

There's your "letter to the editor" theme that'll be understood by anyone who may have heard of William Shakespeare.
 
 
+27 # jwb110 2013-07-20 08:07
The flag is a symbol not the thing itself. He could have said the same thing about a Boy Scout Merit Badge. Also in a world of Global Economies, Sole Super Power, Secret Treaties and shadow gov'ts in Washington there are no more nation states. Flags have become symbols of patriotism to countries that no longer represent the citizen's loyalty.
This trial is turning into a soap opera and there is a lot of grasping at straws.
Coombs also asked if Manning told her that "you can't have blind loyalty to a flag," and that "we have duty to all people from every country." She did not recall. That is a leading question. Hoe did they get away with that.
The court and the Gov't had better come to understanding that to many in this country and a great many in the rest of the world Manning is their Soldier of the Month.
Beware the martyrs you make.
 
 
+14 # engelbach 2013-07-20 09:10
That's correct.

The leading question should have been objected to, as should have been the admissibility of the alleged flag statement.

What is Manning's lawyer doing?
 
 
+8 # Akeel1701 2013-07-20 11:09
Quoting engelbach:
That's correct.

What is Manning's lawyer doing?

very good question indeed.....
 
 
+15 # DaveM 2013-07-20 08:48
I was unaware that one's personal feelings about the American flag could be a crime. Do we have to stop our cars, get out, and salute each time we pass one?

Didn't think so.
 
 
+7 # Akeel1701 2013-07-20 11:11
Quoting DaveM:
I was unaware that one's personal feelings about the American flag could be a crime. Do we have to stop our cars, get out, and salute each time we pass one?

Didn't think so.

If they can fine you for not doing it, they'll introduce it - anything to squeeze more dosh out of the people
 
 
0 # dquandle 2013-07-22 15:23
Inducing permanent patriotic traffic jam. Perhaps then we could swear fealty to the traffic jam as a manifestation of the flag....
 
 
+14 # John Escher 2013-07-20 09:02
That Showman person certainly is well named. By the way, "the citizen of the world argument" is a sound one. Twerps who are always looking to administer loyalty oaths to some reprehensible country or another should go with the help of Ace Moving to the Andromeda Galaxy.
 
 
+7 # NOMINAE 2013-07-20 15:41
Quoting John Escher:
That Showman person certainly is well named. By the way, "the citizen of the world argument" is a sound one. Twerps who are always looking to administer loyalty oaths to some reprehensible country or another should go with the help of Ace Moving to the Andromeda Galaxy.


I totally support your point, John, but what have our neighbors in Andromeda ever done to deserve *that* kind of punishment ?
 
 
+13 # tm7devils 2013-07-20 09:05
If the American flag is a symbol of America and its government - AND WHAT EACH STANDS FOR, and;
if elected officials and appointed leaders in the government have made the US the greatest militaristic and financial terrorist organization in the World - which they have(Q.E.D.)(sp ecifically with aid of the CIA, the DOD, the IMF, the WB, the US judicial system, Wall Street, the 1% AND the US electorate with their voting habits – or lack thereof), and;
since said leaders (exec branch, congress), along with the judicial system and lobbyists(1%), have disenfranchised (deprived of power; marginalized) the Constitution of the US, then,I posit;
paying homage to said flag, in essence, makes one a traitor to the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights...and a hypocrite...or a terrorist.
 
 
+19 # engelbach 2013-07-20 09:09
The flag statement should not have been admitted.

It has no bearing on the case and is prejudicial.

"Disloyal statements" are protected by the First Amendment.

Even people in the military have that protection.
 
 
+2 # Brooklynite 2013-07-22 08:26
Quoting engelbach:
The flag statement should not have been admitted.

It has no bearing on the case and is prejudicial.

"Disloyal statements" are protected by the First Amendment.

Even people in the military have that protection.

No bearing on the facts is irrelevant in this kangaroo court. Because the statement that was admitted *IS* prejudicial against the heroic Manning is the precise reason that it has been admitted.
 
 
+16 # mleicester 2013-07-20 09:47
This is what the prosecution has to base it case on? Alleged statements about the flag are evidence of aiding the enemy? Really? Maybe this is a good omen of how bad the prosecution's case is on this issue.
 
 
+9 # rhgreen 2013-07-20 09:51
So what is disloyal about saying that a flag, any flag, means nothing to a person? That comment could mean many things - for example that a flag is just a piece of cloth and only the country's institutions and freedoms matter. And the Supreme Court has ruled in cases where someone was arrested and charged for flag burning, that it came under freedom of speech. Jirhleah Showman's testimony makes an absurd unfair trial even more so.
 
 
+4 # Scott Galindez 2013-07-20 09:52
The Prosecution was rebutting defense testimony concerning Manning's motives.
 
 
+2 # NOMINAE 2013-07-20 15:45
Quoting Scott Galindez:
The Prosecution was rebutting defense testimony concerning Manning's motives.


Thanks for re-anchoring the debate back into reality.
It is also apparent that many commenters have no way
to understand the difference between a military, and a
civilian Court.
 
 
-1 # Nebulastardust 2013-07-28 14:31
The problem is not so much as it being a military court but a kangaroo court. The same court that found Omar Khadr guilty of murdering a US soldier in Afghanistan.
 
 
+10 # khasidi 2013-07-20 10:09
Since when is saying, "[the flag] doesn't mean anything to me," disloyalty? Disloyalty to whom? To the USA? To the American people? To the Military Establishment? Or is it just disloyalty to the flag as an icon of inherent holiness?

As an icon, loyalty to the meaning flag is a religious issue which the government has no business with; but if the flag is a symbol of something, I infer from its line of questioning that the Prosecution believes it represents only the positions held by the Executive Branch of the U.S. government (including the military). The Prosecution implies that the flag does not represent those of us who do not (and did not) support the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, nor does it represent those of us who believe that the US military has been committing and covering up war crimes, and that Bradley Manning's exposure of those crimes was a morally courageous act. In other words, the implication of the the Prosecution's argument is that the flag only represents those citizens who support the actions of the US Military Establishment.

If that is the case, then clearly Manning's perception is quite correct, the flag doesn't mean anything, or at least not anything deserving of our loyalty.
 
 
+13 # Moefwn 2013-07-20 10:48
Every weekday morning children across the country rise and pledge allegiance - not to the Constitution, not to a set of ideals - but to the *flag* of the United States of America. This has been going on for generations. With that sort of input, is it any wonder that people are confused about what is important? If we're going to brainwash our citizens during childhood, shouldn't we at least have them pledge allegiance to the *ideals* of the United States of America? I've been asking people this question for the past 40 years, and never once gotten a serious answer.
 
 
+1 # Johnny 2013-07-21 16:07
Here is your serious answer. The ideals of the founders of the United States included protection for the rights of the ordinary people, as well as barriers to the establishment of the kind of dictatorship that now rules the U.S. The economic elite who buy the media and the politicians in the U.S. are evil, but they are not stupid. They know a ritual worship of "the flag" cannot hurt them, but respect for the founders' ideals threatens their hegemony.
 
 
+19 # Rich Austin 2013-07-20 10:55
Which flag? The made-in-China by exploited workers flag sold at Wal-Mart, the lapel flags worn by Congressional sociopaths, or the flags we as children pledged allegiance to while being brainwashed about a “democracy” that doesn’t exist?
 
 
+8 # NOMINAE 2013-07-20 15:47
Quoting Rich Austin:
Which flag? The made-in-China by exploited workers flag sold at Wal-Mart, the lapel flags worn by Congressional sociopaths, or the flags we as children pledged allegiance to while being brainwashed about a “democracy” that doesn’t exist?


No kidding. Back when that classroom flag, and a *wooden* desk was supposed to protect us from a full-on nuclear attack.
 
 
0 # dquandle 2013-07-22 15:26
Yeah. Those.
 
 
+8 # Kathymoi 2013-07-20 12:53
Let's hope the judge takes time, a few days, to deliberate. I'm concerned that she has already decided her verdict.
 
 
+2 # Johnny 2013-07-21 16:08
If the judge had not already decided her verdict, then the Gestapo would not have assigned her to the case in the first place.
 
 
0 # dquandle 2013-07-22 15:27
She had decided her verdict long before this exercise in star-chamberism got itself off its filthy a$$, and started trundling its obscene bulk towards apocalypse.
 
 
+6 # Erdajean 2013-07-20 17:14
I fully agree, Kathy. If this judge is willing to admit this stupid, irrelevant, made-to-order on the spur of the moment "flag" idiocy, what hope could Manning have for a fair shake?
Question: can a counselor be made to reveal the details of a "client's" responses? Are there no ethics of privacy in this relationship? Of course, the rules are different, in a kangaroo court.
 
 
+3 # Malcolm 2013-07-20 20:11
So Manning's statements were "disloyal"? Sheesh. / guess he should follow the rest of the Sheople, and take an oath of fealty to a piece of synthetic fabric, with fake stars and real live stripes.
 
 
0 # Johnny 2013-07-21 16:01
This is evidence? The judge let it in? Of course. If the judge were not merely a whore for the Gestapo, der Fuerher would have found another kangaroo to run the court.
 
 
0 # dquandle 2013-07-22 15:29
Monsanto has ways of engineering such kangaroos to order. No need to go out hunting....
 
 
-1 # Nebulastardust 2013-07-28 14:28
So suddenly someone 'remembers' a statement supposedly made by Manning and totally out of context with why he MAY have said that and in what circumstance.

Perhaps is was a quip. Perhaps it was an insult to her for asking such a stupid question.

Perhaps, this is just a false memory of hers. Maybe she is full of sudden false memories. Could be from her use of LSD?

The idiocy will continue. The purveyors of torture will not be arrested nor tried.

Oboma, the hypocrite will continue on in much the same manner as a'hole presidents before him and Manning will lose to the gross misbehaviour of a military full of crap and a constitution ignored.

It's all the same old dirty water flowing under the same decrepit bridge crossing from morality to immorality as always.
 

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