Surprise: President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning's Sentence

from the about-time dept

Well, here's a surprise. President Obama has just commuted the bulk of Chelsea Manning's sentence, meaning she will be freed this May, rather than having to spend another three decades in jail. Manning, of course, was sent to prison for sharing a large chunk of US diplomatic cables with Wikileaks. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison nearly four years ago (with credit for the 3.5 years she'd already been held, often in solitary confinement). Many people were already outraged at the sentence, especially given that there was no evidence of any actual harm from the leaks.

There were two big campaigns going on over the past few months -- one to pardon Ed Snowden, and another to commute Manning's sentence. President Obama had already made it fairly clear that he had no interest in pardoning Snowden based on the totally false claim that he could not pardon Snowden prior to Snowden being convicted. In the past few weeks, however, there were at least a few hints and rumors that Obama was seriously considering commuting Manning's sentence, and that led to even more focus on the campaign. Ed Snowden himself also advocated for Manning, even ahead of his own case:
And then, just a few days ago, Wikileaks tweeted that Julian Assange would agree to be extradited to the US if Obama "grants Manning clemency."
And yes, commuting the sentence (which shortens the sentence, but is not a full pardon...) is a form of clemency. So now there's a separate question to ask: will Assange agree to be extradited to the US (or will he just come here voluntarily?). Perhaps after Trump takes over later this week, that won't be such a huge concern, since Trump has magically morphed into a huge Wikileaks/Assange supporter.

Unfortunately, though, it does appear that the likelihood of a Snowden pardon is also almost nil. In discussing today's commutation of Manning's sentence, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest basically argued that what Snowden did was much worse than Manning, because he "fled":
"Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing," he said. "Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy."

He also noted that while the documents Ms. Manning provided to WikiLeaks were "damaging to national security," the ones Mr. Snowden disclosed were "far more serious and far more dangerous." (None of the documents Ms. Manning disclosed were classified above the merely “secret” level.)
While I agree that there was a difference in the types of documents revealed, one might also make the argument that Snowden's leaks revealed much more serious problems and the impact of his leaks were much more important in revealing to the American public abuses by our own government. Separately, the whole "fled into the arms of adversary" thing is silly as well. As has been explained multiple times, Snowden ended up in Russia after the US pulled his passport while he was traveling. And, at the same time, a big part of the reason Snowden left the US was the unfortunate treatment of Manning by the military judicial process. Snowden properly surmised that he would not be treated fairly. And apparently that continues to this day.

Either way, it's good that Manning's sentence has been commuted. It's been clear from many reports that Manning was unlikely to survive the full sentence given to her, and she's been treated horribly in prison as well. It's still too bad that President Obama is unwilling to also pardon Snowden.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 2:07pm

    I mean this completely unsarcastically:
    Thanks Obama!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 1:24am

      Re:

      That's true.

      However, it still leaves a metaphorical stain on his reign as King of America, on the grounds of his administration's frankly insane treatment of people exposing wrongdoing.

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    • icon
      art guerrilla (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 3:14am

      Re:

      WOW ! ! ! no way in hell i thought this would happen under pretty much any circumstance...
      YEAH, YEAH, YEAH ! ! ! a teeny, tiny, eensy, teensy amount of justice left in 'merika...
      a GREAT American gets a bit of belated justice, just about THE ONLY good thing obama has done...
      GO CHELSEA ! ! !

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 2:12pm

    While their reasoning may be flawed, the white house is correct Manning and Snowden are different; part of civil disobedience and protest is standing up and taking responsibility for your actions. Protesting an unjust law is all well and good, but doing it and then running away doesn't make you a hero. Yes, Snowden likely would have gotten the book thrown at him, and his life would be substantially worse if he'd stuck around, but that willingness to suffer is part of what makes us respect those who stand up against unjust laws.

    I'm not saying I support Snowden going to prison, nor am I saying that what he did wasn't valuable. It was; but when he chose to flee the country rather than stand up and make his case here, he separated himself from Manning, and ceded at least part of the moral high ground civil disobedience stands on. That he ended up in Russia because his passport was yanked is of little concern; he was intending to flee somewhere that wouldn't send him back to the US, a list that is dominated by US adversaries.

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    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 17 Jan 2017 @ 2:18pm

      Re:

      He fled because he wanted the focus to be on the revelations, not a sham trial where the gov would put on a dog & pony show to try to overshadow what came out. They can whine all they want about wanting to extradite him, but no dog & pony show to distract the public.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 2:20pm

        Re: Re:

        Because Manning's trial stopped anyone from covering what she leaked. Totally happened that way. Yep.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 4:04pm

        Re: Re:

        Plus with Snowden free it makes it more difficult for the government to set a completely false narrative during the most relevant moments of the revelations without getting a response from Snowden. If the government says something completely wrong about what happened Snowden was free to respond on the spot.

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        • identicon
          David, 18 Jan 2017 @ 12:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          And it's not like this didn't happen basically month for month for month on end.

          Snowden being able to put out (and prove) his version time and again made a large difference regarding the public's ability to see just how far off the deep end of their own lying propaganda the agencies had gone.

          Yes, it did invite the continuous stream of "Snowden should come back and defend his actions in court to the tune of an Espionage Act accusation which explicitly prohibits him from defending his actions in court, the court, and I want to see the bastard hanging from a tree" kind of comment from all sorts of U.S. officials. And some citizens fall for that.

          But overall, I think that in the course of the citizens getting a chance to see where they are at with the unaccountability of their ruling class, I very much think that Snowden picked the better course. Not for himself, but for the U.S. It's still up to people to take action, and it very much looks like they won't. But they have a lot more reason to be ashamed for their rulers, and some choose to hate Snowden for it.

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    • icon
      383bigblock (profile), 17 Jan 2017 @ 2:23pm

      Re: WRONG...

      There is no honor in taking one for the team especially when the system is rigged against whistle blowers. What Snowden released was pure value and we're seeing changes or more importantly increased awareness across the US for how far out of bounds our Government is willing to stray. The value is not less because he didn't subject himself to wrath of those who were caught with their hands in the cookie jar. He's a survivor and thanks to him we have a better understanding of the wickedness of those we entrust to govern us. He is a hero.... by all counts. He was smart enough to reveal what was necessary and preserve his ability to stay relevant and not get swept under the rug.

      It just like the liberals who are all upset at Russia blaming them for Hilary's defeat. It's the not Russians fault that they behave the way they did and wrote the emails that they did, they just got caught. No different with Snowden, how many asshats stood up and predicted armageddon because the leak. No such disaster took place, they bent over backwards trying to denounce and deny the truth. The true turn-coats or the extreme unpatriotic are those asshats in our government that needlessly and recklessly spy on Americans in order to drink up the power.

      Bravo Snowden.....for being smart about it.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 3:42pm

        Re: Re: WRONG...

        > There is no honor in taking one for the team especially when the system is rigged against whistle blowers.

        As Patton said, "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his".

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      • identicon
        Thad, 17 Jan 2017 @ 3:58pm

        Re: Re: WRONG...

        It's the not Russians fault that they behave the way they did and wrote the emails that they did, they just got caught.

        Well, it is Russia's fault that they only chose to leak information that was damaging to the Clinton campaign. You don't think they had dirt on Trump too?

        I've said this before, but apparently it bears repeating: the content of those e-mails was in the public interest. The provenance of those e-mails is in the public interest too. It's possible to be outraged by the DNC and the Clinton campaign and also to be outraged that a foreign government strategically interfered with our election. It's okay to think two different things are bad.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 2:46pm

      Re:

      I think you're correct, but honestly, I don't blame Snowden for that.

      Nobody is obligated to be a hero.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 4:17pm

        Re: Re:

        Nobody is obligated to be a hero.

        I do beg your pardon, but I differ with you on that. "When good men see evil and do nothing, evil triumphs."

        I argue there every person has a duty to fight evil, injustice, poverty, and hate, and to do nothing about is, at best, moral cowardice.

        I don't insist that people die for the fight, just do something constructive to combat it.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 5:07pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          this is why every nation gets the government it deserves...

          Snowden is a patriot, he knew about the shit-storm he was conjuring up and still stood tall and hard and did his part. If only half the cowards in this forum were just half the man Snowden is, I would not have to face an uphill battle with all of "it's not our fault for doing nothing to help prevent our government from going south, you are victim blaming, that quote applies to you too wah wah wah... There just is not enough cheese in the world for their whines!

          Every citizen of every nation has some small part to play in what their country does. It is just a fact of life. Every time a cop gets away with murder, a politician that gets away with accepting bribes, every law and court that taxes the innocent of their life with false or unjust imprisonment or punishments... we all share a small part of that blame.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 5:38pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "cowards in this forum"

            like you?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 9:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "this is why every nation gets the government it deserves..."

            You do realize that Snowden has ended up under the Russian government, don't you? So that's what he deserved, eh?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 5:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yes.
              That poster also thinks babies deserve flashbangs.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 6:13am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The last time I checked, Edward Snowden was not a nation. Has that changed recently?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 6:36am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                The last time I checked, nations are composed of people. Has that changed recently?

                Or perhaps, in some weird sort of way, you mean that nations deserve the government they get while somehow the people of said nations don't? Please, enlighten us.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 12:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Oh poor you, you have to face an uphill battle and it's all someone else's fault!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 8:12pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That is not being a hero.

          Doing your job, doing what is expected of any reasonable person, is not being a hero.

          Being a hero is when someone goes above and beyond what is normal.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 8:13am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Being a hero is by definition exceptional. Men have an obligation to do no evil. Good men may fight evil, and good for them. But all you have to do is not make the world worse.

          The difference between meeting expectations and exceeding them.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 17 Jan 2017 @ 2:50pm

      Re:

      You mean like Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers?

      Ellsberg's trial was dismissed in 1973 after evidence of government misconduct against him, including illegal wiretapping, was introduced in court. Today the government actions that got the case thrown out of court are legal.

      For the two years Ellsberg was under indictment he was free to speak to the media and at rallies and public lectures. Today Snowden would not be allowed out on bail. Instead, he would be in a prison cell like Bradley Manning, incommunicado, in total isolation conditions.

      Speak the truth, then run.
      - Polish proverb

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 4:10pm

      Re:

      "... taking responsibility for your actions....but that willingness to suffer is part of what makes us respect those who stand up against unjust laws.

      ...he separated himself from Manning, and ceded at least part of the moral high ground ..."

      Absolute rubbish

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 5:35pm

      Re:

      Well said - and from a fine upstanding citizen no doubt, one who would not waste a second before admitting their own faults before other's and taking responsibility for their actions ... right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 17 Jan 2017 @ 8:57pm

      Re:

      "...part of civil disobedience and protest is standing up and taking responsibility for your actions."

      Can you show us where exactly in the rule book is says that? And besides, he has taken responsibility for it, he said he did it.

      "Protesting an unjust law is all well and good, but doing it and then running away doesn't make you a hero."

      Sacrificing your life in the country of your birth, not being able to see family and friends, and not being able to work in your field of expertise, all for the benefit of the everyone else, seems pretty heroic to me. Why do you have to be throw in jail be be called a hero?

      "Yes, Snowden likely would have gotten the book thrown at him, and his life would be substantially worse if he'd stuck around, but that willingness to suffer is part of what makes us respect those who stand up against unjust laws."

      That's your opinion only, many others don't require such an extreme level of personal sacrifice to award someone respect.

      "...when he chose to flee the country rather than stand up and make his case here, he separated himself from Manning, and ceded at least part of the moral high ground civil disobedience stands on."

      Well he was clearly smarter than Manning, because he knew exactly what would happen if he stuck around. Choosing to impale yourself on a manifestly unjust legal system doesn't give you any more moral high ground.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 9:04pm

      Re:

      "While their reasoning may be flawed, the white house is correct Manning and Snowden are different"

      Yeah, Manning got caught (he didn't exactly turn himself in), but Snowden got away. And that REALLY pisses you off, doesn't it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 1:38am

      Re:

      "part of civil disobedience and protest is standing up and taking responsibility for your actions"

      Oh please, by all means do that in North Korea to see how fast you get killed. In the US at the very least you'll only be tortured into suicide and when it fails you'll be double tortured. Yep, Snowden should have stayed for sure.

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  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 17 Jan 2017 @ 2:16pm

    "Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy."

    That'd be one of the four countries that offered Snowden permanent asylum: Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Venezuela. The US trapped Snowden in Russia while enroute. They even intercepted and searched the president of Bolivia's plane to search it for Snowden.

    Funny though, I hadn't heard that Bolivia was an adversary or undermined American democracy.

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    • identicon
      David, 18 Jan 2017 @ 1:01am

      Re:

      Are you serious? Morales is a coca farmer and was union leader for them before he became president. How is he not an adversary or undermining "American democracy" and its "war on drugs" one-size-fits-all excuse for government overreach?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 1:42am

        Re: Re:

        Coca leaves are actually a must if you want to tolerate high altitudes. I've had such problems and it caused me a severe headache but the moment I took some coca tea the symptoms started receding. The war on drugs is a failure and a lie.

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      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 18 Jan 2017 @ 6:10am

        Re: Re:

        So end the War on Drugs, then. End of problem.

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        • identicon
          David, 18 Jan 2017 @ 12:31pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You can't phase out the war on drugs without replacement. You'd upset law enforcement operations.

          But hey, I think the time is ripe for it.

          "Sir, I think we heard strange sounds reminiscent of Beatles emanating from your car. And I see our copy cat alerting. There is sufficient grounds for suspecting you listening to pirated music, so we'll confiscate all devices possibly involved in illegal music reproduction. Hand over all your smartphones. Your car has a car stereo? I got bad news for you. Say good bye to it. Not the stereo, silly. The car."

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    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 1:44am

      Re:

      He's just making excuses. To hell with the fact he is trapped in Russia because of the US and not because he wants. No, you need to vilify them, smear their character. They did it with manning. The good part is that it doesn't work as well nowadays.

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  • icon
    zerosaves (profile), 17 Jan 2017 @ 2:17pm

    My biggest issue with Manning is the complete stupidity of some of what was released. The stuff revealed put real peoples lives in danger. Names of people who worked for the military in war zones undercover as translators or for intel community gathering local info. Those people became targets once this got out. So I was never 100% against any and all punishment for this. 35 years may be a little long but I always thought it was a dumb move to just give all that over to people to publish online without knowing what was in it. I could care less about making the government look bad with the cables, but don't put peoples lives at risk who are helping us.

    Snowden, on the other hand, revealed what the government was doing to us, the citizens. More of an embarrassment than life threatening. A true whistle blower.

    Snowden deserves the "pardon" (I know I know, he just communicated the sentence) more than Manning.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 2:22pm

    $5 says Assange does not, in fact, surrender himself as promised.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 2:32pm

      Re:

      If he enjoys any kind of freedom at all, he will never step foot here or anywhere that they can get to him.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 2:48pm

      Re:

      In all fairness; Obama didn't let Manning out. Manning's still i the clink at the moment.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 4:34pm

        Re: Re:

        If Assange is a man of his word the commuted sentence Obama granted would be sufficient for him to surrender.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 5:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You are kidding, right? If so, you trust people way more than you should.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 7:55pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          When I heard Assange's promise I suspected Obama would take advantage of it. I was only expecting him to reduce Manning's sentence by some token amount like a week though. He doesn't normally tolerate leaking/leakers except Patreus.

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    • icon
      K`Tetch (profile), 17 Jan 2017 @ 11:35pm

      Re:

      well of course not.

      Mostly because there is no US Extradition. In fact, it's a funny thing, but 4 days prior to his entry into the Ecuadorian embassy, he had all but been assured that he could not, in any circumstances, be extradited to the US.

      The only reason to have gone into that embassy at that time, would have been to avoid extradition to Sweden. Sweden has a prohibition on extradition for political reasons (they'd previously refused to extradite Edward howard who was being charged with Espionage after having defected to the Soviet Union). This is why on August 18 2010 (two days before the allegations were made) he had applied for residency there.
      Second, under the Doctrine of Speciality the only way to have extradited him to the US, would be for Sweden to agree (which as I've just noted, they wouldn't) and then for the UK to also agree in accordance with the far stricter UK-Sweden treaty than the US-UK treaty.
      Third, the UK was a strange place for someone to go to (especially for 20 months) if they're seeking to avoid US extradition because it has one of the easiest extradition treaties (probably cause is all that's needed).

      The only way any of his actions through the 3 year period from September 1 2010 to September 1 2012 makes sense is if he knew full well that there is not, and never was going to be a US extradition. Of course, it kinda helps that the US DOJ has said as much a number of times. However, it's a great claim to play to the fans, and stoke the conspiracy theorists, and hide the fact that, yes, he is just trying to avoid going to trial on the sexual assault allegations, and nothing more.

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  • icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 17 Jan 2017 @ 2:37pm

    Testicular Fortitude

    I see Obama has some after all. Now if he can just put on his big girl panties and pardon Snowden. Hell, there's a list a mile long of people he should be pardoning. If he truly wanted to do the right thing, he could damn near completely empty federal prisons of all the people held on BS drug charges. I know pipe dreaming there, but if he wants to leave a legacy, that would be a good one to have.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 3:21pm

      Re: Testicular Fortitude

      Marked "LOL".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 3:53pm

      Re: Testicular Fortitude

      His real legacy, for anyone who has been paying attention, h as been his non-stop expansion of mass surveillance and executive power.

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      • identicon
        Thad, 17 Jan 2017 @ 4:03pm

        Re: Re: Testicular Fortitude

        He's made real progress in starting to turn the drug war around. Not as much as I'd like, but more than any other President has in the last half-century.

        I share your horror (and, presumably, most Techdirt readers') at his expansion of the surveillance state. But people are complicated, history moreso, and a President's legacy is usually not limited to just one thing.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 4:24pm

          Re: Re: Re: Testicular Fortitude

          > He's made real progress in starting to turn the drug war around. Not as much as I'd like, but more than any other President has in the last half-century.

          Oh, is that why he appointed Michele Leonhart and Chuck Rosenberg? Because he wanted to end or slow down the drug war?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 4:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: Testicular Fortitude

          He's made real progress in starting to turn the drug war around.

          Serious question, what did he do? I can't think of anything off-hand.

          Most of the progress I've seen has been by states legalizing medical or recreational marijuana.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 5:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Testicular Fortitude

            More importantly ... what he didn't do:

            let the world economic crisis crush this country
            let millions die from lack of medical attention
            start another war
            allow corporate control of national parks for mining/drilling
            privatize education
            put social security in the hands of privateers
            just add all the things Trump/GOP want

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          • identicon
            Thad, 18 Jan 2017 @ 11:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Testicular Fortitude

            Serious question, what did he do? I can't think of anything off-hand.

            He commuted the sentences of more criminals than any President in history, hundreds of whom were nonviolent drug offenders ( http://www.lifezette.com/polizette/the-obama-presidency-by-the-numbers/ ).

            He also signed into law a bill to end the disparate sentencing for crack cocaine versus powder cocaine.

            Most of the progress I've seen has been by states legalizing medical or recreational marijuana.

            Yes, but it's still banned under federal law, and it's up to the Executive Branch to decide whether to continue to prosecute people in states where it's legal. Bush's DoJ prosecuted people who grew medical marijuana; Obama's ended the practice.

            Again, "Not as much as I'd like, but more than any other President has in the last half-century."

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 5:46pm

          Re: Re: Re: Testicular Fortitude

          and a President's legacy is usually not limited to just one thing.

          Only Nixon goes to China.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 17 Jan 2017 @ 4:35pm

        Re: Re: Testicular Fortitude

        Don't forget the 'crusade' against whistleblowers, the pro-torture, pro-slavery, and pro-mass murder. His 'legacy' is tainted well beyond recovery at this point, this is just a lone point of him actually doing something right for once.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 5:53pm

      Re: Testicular Fortitude

      Obama has thrown more Whistle blowers in jail then every other president combined!!!

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  • identicon
    tracyanne, 17 Jan 2017 @ 2:57pm

    What Obama did

    is better than nothing, and a lot more than I expected. They could transfer her to a women's prison to serve out the remaining time. That would be nice.

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  • icon
    whitebrow (profile), 17 Jan 2017 @ 3:34pm

    whether the leak caused any damage was never the issue, how is mike still confused about this.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 3:50pm

    "We tortured some folks"

    Don't forget what Manning went through. It wasn't just solitary confinement. Commutation isn't a pardon. Meaning that Manning will still suffer with the difficulties that having a federal criminal conviction presents.

    Pretty dickless to convict, imprison and torture someone for telling the truth. Good for Obama for doing one good thing during his tenure. He could have done better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 4:04pm

      Re: "We tortured some folks"

      I didn't think Manning had a federal criminal conviction? Wasn't he tried before a military court? This would give her a martial criminal conviction, which will result in either more or less difficulties, depending on how people weight such a conviction.

      So: no more opportunity to work for the government, period. Lots of opportunity for self-employment, motivational talking circuits, working for people who are anti-war, etc.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 4:09pm

        Re: Re: "We tortured some folks"

        You are right about the conviction. Self employment is not an easy road. I have my doubts.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Thad, 17 Jan 2017 @ 4:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: "We tortured some folks"

          And on top of all that, it's not as if prospective employers aren't going to know who she is. A lot of hiring managers could look at her as a security risk, or emotionally unstable, or just plain not like her because of what she's done.

          She's got a tough road ahead of her. But at least it's not going to be as tough as prison.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 4:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: "We tortured some folks"

          Self employment is a tad easier when you are internationally famous. You have to work less on advertising.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 11:59pm

      Re: "We tortured some folks"

      Chelsea Manning was a transsexual being treated rough by her former gender-mates. She had already tried to commit suicide twice and has spend far too long in solitary confinement.

      I bet, the cost of having her in prison has been far too high and her situation was extremely awkward since she was in a male prison... If anyting, this is a way to avoid having Mannings expected future suicide wreck havoc on the way US treats prisoners (which is development country level by most statistics)!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 5:25pm

    Interesting choice of words/actions.

    Pardoning or freeing Manning would lead to an outcry: "Why did Obama let that terrorist* go free?! Waaaah!" But commuting the sentence the way Obama did effectively frees Manning (just a few months to go!) while letting the public believe that the evil terrorist* has been punished for her crimes.

    * Replace terrorist with your choice of buzzword as desired.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lewis V., 17 Jan 2017 @ 5:25pm

    "...President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning's Sentence"

    Awesome! Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange are all heroes of the free world! ;-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    streetlight (profile), 17 Jan 2017 @ 7:05pm

    Manning compared to Petraeus

    Compare the situation Manning suffered compared to that of Petraeus. Petraeus, a retired four star general and CIA director, revealed to his mistress in an extra marital affair something like 30,000 classified documents. Petraeus was convicted of misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified materials. It's not clear to me where these documents went or what judicially happened to the mistress. He was given a two-year probationary period and a fine of $100,000 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petraeus_scandal). It's not clear when the extramarital affair started, but if it was when he was still in the army then, the military has severe penalties for such behavior. But then, he was a four star general.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jan 2017 @ 9:14pm

      Re: Manning compared to Petraeus

      > But then, he was a four star general.

      It's not so much what you do, but who you are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    wondering, 17 Jan 2017 @ 11:19pm

    Obama letting the terrorists out of goal.

    Obama should be hung. I feel this traitor is planning a Terrorist attack on America. We have never had so much violence in the world since he took over and the media is petrified of this racist. Why don't they tell the truth about Michelle Obama is she transender. Obama looks Gay and has he a secret son.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 1:14am

    Of course, no word from Assange. Now we get to find out if he is all talk....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tin-Foil-Hat, 18 Jan 2017 @ 4:45am

    A more dangerous enemy

    Snowden's leak aided a much more dangerous enemy. An enemy that needs to be broken, crushed and punished. That enemy is us. Those of us who exercise our first amendment rights are terrorists according to the FBI.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 5:16am

      Re: A more dangerous enemy

      What good is a list if everyone is on it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 6:31pm

        Re: Re: A more dangerous enemy

        Selective enforcement and intimidation.

        A and B are both on The List.

        A is a 'good citizen' and keeps his/her head down, doesn't make waves, doesn't question those in charge, and as such isn't given much attention by the higher ups.

        B is not a 'good citizen'. They speak their mind, question statements made by their betters, and have the audacity so suggest that the government might not in fact have their best interests in mind. As a result should B make too much of a hassle the can look forward to 'investigations', a 'few questions', maybe some 'administrative issues' should they try to fly anywhere or apply for a job that requires a background/security check.

        If everyone is guilty of something(and with the insane and near countless laws we have that's pretty much a given) then that gives those with the ability to hand out punishments enormous power, both direct and indirect at their discretion and/or whim.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Groaker (profile), 18 Jan 2017 @ 5:39am

    It is not just office workers, but highly trained individuals like research attorneys, infection control doctors, doctors specializing in diagnosis, quite likely your internist, and of course Jeopardy players.

    Any job which requires winnowing through massive amounts of data to come to a couple of possibilities is up for replacement.

    Humans will go back to the creative crafts, arts, minstrels and similar such work

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jan 2017 @ 5:45am

    it didn't occure to me, but then i saw on cbc news, julian assange said he would turn himself over to the US if mannings sentance was commuted. so i see this as less 'the right thing to do" and more "releasing an unimportant political prisoner to get at the enemies of hillary clinton". this may appear different from outside the country than from inside i think.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    My_Name_Here, 18 Jan 2017 @ 8:04am

    How many days will this be hidden?

    Classic Techdirt, playing on "Gotcha!" politics to try and rile the pirate-friendly crowd.

    It's posts like these that make me reconsider my perspective on the Ayyadurai lawsuit. Techdirt has always tended to censor and hide voices of wisdom contrary to the pirate party line. I'm really starting to think it's karma.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BAMA supporter, 18 Jan 2017 @ 1:33pm

    But wa... MANNING

    But Guanta... MANNING!

    But NSA spyi... MANNING!

    But killing dron... MANNING!

    But stopping journ... MANNING!

    OBAMA is the best president ever! America fuck yeah!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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