Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Will Some Be Smart Enough To Believe Trump? Acid In The Face? Reality Is Always The Best Medicine.

Took 8 years to accomplish this

                                                               More Obama betrayals? (See 1 and 1a below.)

John Lewis has ridden the Civil Rights Horse for years. A fellow black reporter, Jason Riley, portrays Lewis' full story. (See 2 below.)

Virtually all black congresspersons are Democrats.  They get returned to office almost automatically and thus gain seniority.  This gives them political clout and power yet, the plight of those they represent remains stuck in neutral, at best.  Perhaps there is nothing their Representatives can do to help their own or perhaps the party their Representatives belong to takes them for granted knowing they will always get their vote for entitlement crumbs.

Then along comes Trump, asking black voters: "what do you have to lose" and perhaps the bonds have been loosened.  Time will tell.

I am not suggesting John Lewis' days in Congress are numbered but  Trump did give black voters something to think about.  Maybe, if he convinces them, as he will try in his Inaugural Speech, that he is representing all Americans they will listen and some might even be smart enough to believe.
Aging and no longer caring what people think and I do has advantages.  (See 3 below.)
Obama besmirches the Holocaust Commission, its distinguished Board and the memory of Ellie Weisel by appointing a liar like Ben Rhodes to The Holocaust Commission,

Why didn't he just throw acid in their faces? (See 4 below.)
As I have written time and again, reality is the best medicine when seeking to solve a knotty problem.  (See 5 below.)

President Obama Commutes Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

Former Army intelligence analyst was serving 35 years for leaking secret government information

WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama shortened Chelsea Manning’s 35-year prison sentence Tuesday, setting a May release for the former Army intelligence analyst convicted of leaking government secrets.
Mr. Obama’s decision about the transgender former soldier was announced along with more than 200 other commutations and dozens of pardons by the White House three days before he leaves office.
The president also issued a pardon in the case of James Cartwright, a retired four-star general and former vice chairman of the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was awaiting sentencing for lying to authorities investigating leaks about a classified effort against Iran’s nuclear program. Prosecutors had been seeking a two-year prison sentence for Gen. Cartwright, who was one of Mr. Obama’s most-trusted military advisers.
The president’s decisions intensified the national debate about leaks, intelligence and what sort of punishment should be given to those who reveal government secrets.

Republicans immediately criticized the commutation. “This is just outrageous,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.). “Chelsea Manning’s treachery put American lives at risk and exposed some of our nation’s most sensitive secrets. President Obama now leaves in place a dangerous precedent that those who compromise our national security won’t be held accountable for their crimes.”

Commutations shorten the punishment meted out, typically by reducing the time in prison a convict must serve, but they don’t remove the recipient’s criminal record. A pardon wipes their slate clean.
Senior administration officials said Mr. Obama has now granted 1,385 commutations to individuals, more than the previous 12 presidents combined.
More than a third of those commutations were granted to people serving life sentences for drug offenses. Officials said Mr. Obama focused on commutations to relieve those who received what he considered unfair sentences during decades of strict drug laws.
By comparison, Mr. Obama has granted 212 pardons, narrowly exceeding predecessor George W. Bush, who approved 189.
In 2013, Pfc. Bradley Manning was found guilty at a court-martial of providing hundreds of thousands of documents to the website WikiLeaks.
The Army private leaked a video showing a U.S. Army helicopter in Iraq firing on a group of people who turned out to include journalists from Reuters, as well as incident reports from Afghanistan and Iraq, and thousands of secret State Department cables.
In August 2013, less than 24 hours after being sentenced for being the source of one of the biggest classified leaks in U.S. history, Pfc. Manning said she wanted to begin hormone therapy and be known by a new name, Chelsea. In 2016, the Army agreed to allow her to receive medical treatment for gender dysphoria.
Senior administration officials said the president considered Ms. Manning to have committed serious crimes, but also took into consideration the fact that she had faced justice and took responsibility for what she had done.
The president had faced pressure from human rights groups to show mercy to Ms. Manning, who twice attempted suicide last year.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International praised the decision. “This move could quite literally save Chelsea’s life,” said Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT Project representing Ms. Manning.
“Chelsea Manning exposed serious abuses, and as a result, her own human rights have been violated by the U.S. government for years,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International U.S.A., adding that the commutation was overdue.
Ms. Manning’s father, Brian Manning, said in an email that he is relieved by Mr. Obama’s decision, adding that Ms. Manning “has served and been punished, both physically and mentally, for long enough.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) said that when he was leading soldiers in Afghanistan, “Private Manning was undermining us by leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. … We ought not treat a traitor like a martyr.”
In 2010, early in Mr. Obama’s first term, Ms. Manning gave the trove of secret documents to the website WikiLeaks, causing a cascade of public revelations embarrassing to the U.S. government, particularly the State Department, which was led at the time by Hillary Clinton.
Last year, the website, which was founded by Julian Assange, became a key actor in the presidential race, publishing emails from Democratic operatives and a top aide to Mrs. Clinton during her presidential campaign against Republican Donald Trump. U.S. officials have concluded the messages were hacked by the Russian government in a bid to tarnish her candidacy.
Mr. Obama didn’t consider a pardon for Edward Snowden, who in 2013 disclosed classified documents from the National Security Agency on government surveillance programs that he took while working there as a contractor.
The White House said Tuesday that Mr. Snowden didn’t apply for a pardon.
Gen. Cartwright pleaded guilty last year to making false official statements to federal investigators who were investigating leaks to reporters.
Senior administration officials said Gen. Cartwright had taken responsibility for his actions. He served his country honorably for decades, the officials said, and spoke to the reporters in an effort to keep sensitive details from being revealed. “His impressive service to the country, his character and his stated motivation were all high in the president’s calculus when he was reviewing the case,” an official said.
The case against Gen. Cartwright stemmed from an investigation into a leak after David Sanger, a reporter with the New York Times, published an article and a book that exposed secrets about how the U.S. used a computer virus called Stuxnet to sabotage Iran’s nuclear centrifuges.
In a statement, Gen. Cartwright thanked Mr. Obama. “With the greatest pride, I have served my country as a member of the military for more than 40 years,” wrote Gen. Cartwright, who left military service in 2011. “This action allows me to continue that work as a private citizen,” he said, adding that the U.S. is “the greatest nation on earth.”
“I never lost faith in that belief,” he said.
Other actions by Mr. Obama included a pardon for Willie McCovey, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame who pleaded guilty in 1995 to filing a false tax return and was sentenced to probation and a $5,000 fine in 1996. Mr. Obama also pardoned Ian Schrager, the New York hotelier and co-founder of the nightclub Studio 54. He served prison time after pleading guilty to filing a false tax return.
Also winning a commutation Tuesday was Oscar López Rivera, part of a militant group that fought for Puerto Rican independence more than 30 years ago. He was convicted of “seditious conspiracy” to overthrow the U.S. government in connection with his membership in the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional (FALN).
He has been in federal prison since 1981. The FALN claimed responsibility for more than 70 bombings across major cities in the U.S. between 1974 and 1983. The attacks in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., killed five people, injured dozens and caused millions in property damage.
Mr. Rivera’s case has drawn attention from Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” and other Latin artists who have urged Mr. Obama to commute his sentence.


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