Barack Obama

UPDATED! Will Obama Pardon Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning? No, but Lying Admin Folks Will go Scot-Free

James Clapper and John Brennan lied, others behaved horribly in "scandal-free" administration.

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Reason

UPDATE (4:50 P.M. ET): As Scott Shackford reports, President Barack Obama reduced Chelsea Manning's 35-year sentence today. She will be released in May. Very glad to be wrong on this!

Will Barack Obama pardon Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, ask any stories about how whistleblowers have been treated in the past. The answer is almost certainly no, even if people agree that the Espionage Act is ill-fitted to current realities and that, in the case of Manning at least, her imprisonment is inhumane (as the United Nations' chief torture investigator concluded).

Not only has the administration convicted more people under the Espionage Act than all previous ones combined, Obama has been on the butt end of revelations that made a mockery of his arrogant and false boast that we would have the "most transparent administration" ever. Yes, that came from the guy who extended George W. Bush's massive power grab and even created an extra-judicial "kill list" that had American citizens on it. Due process, it turns out, was for the little people.

And, as Michael Sainato lays out in a blistering New York Observer column, the outgoing president also worked with and protected an incredible number of highly placed liars and cheats.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper committed perjury in 2013 when he lied under oath to Congress by saying that the National Security Agency (NSA) did not conduct mass surveillance on the public. NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowdenrevealed the extent of this highly unethical government program, which President Obama has vociferously defended. Obama's Administration called the telephone surveillance program a "critical tool" in the war against terrorism. However, six months later The Washington Post reported that an independent review board ruled that there was not a single instance in which the program made a difference in counter-terrorism efforts.

CIA Director John Brennan lied about CIA officials hacking the computer servers of congressional staff from the Senate Intelligence Committee when the committee was investigating the CIA's interrogation and detention program….

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was granted impunity from circumventing Freedom of Information Act laws in her unauthorized use of a private email serverduring her service. Attorney General Loretta Lynch suspiciously met with Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac in Phoenix days before the FBI concluded their investigation into Hillary. Neither Clinton nor Lynch suffered any consequences for their actions.

In 2015, after overtly mishandling classified information, General David Petraeus received a slap on the wrist, while lower ranking individuals were prosecuted, jailed, and vilified.

Double standards shielding the powerful hardly stop there. As renowned journalist James Risen put it after being on the receiving end of state actions over his reporting, Obama's White House "has been the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation." IRS abuses add more to the pile and so did obstruction to independent investigations. How bad did it get? In 2014, the "lack of transparency [was] so severe that 47 of Mr. Obama's 73 inspectors general signed an open letter in 2014 decrying the administration's stonewalling of their investigations."

Given all that, I don't expect Obama to pardon Snowden or commute Manning's sentence. But here's hoping. One good thing about the media's newfound zeal for being a watchdog rather than a lapdog now the President-elect Trump is just days away from taking office is that the federal government might actually be held to a real standard for transparency and honesty. Sure, it's motivated by partisanship and ideological contempt (which bring with them their own problems), but it's better than the opposite.

Barack Obama was a master of presentation, argues Todd Krainin in this exceptional 2014 Reason TV documentary, "Reality Show President: Inside the White House PR Machine." He was so good, in fact, that most of the time we had no idea just how much he was stage-managing virtually every image of him we encountered.

NEXT: The inaugural address

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  1. an incredible number of highly placed liars and cheats

    Nice band name.

    1. Really more of the title of a Guided By Voices album.

      1. Omg, it DOES sound like a GBV album title. Good call!

        1. Have you ever seen them live? Helluva show. Did a 35 song set in a dive bar and had a 55 gallon trash can on stage full of beer and ice; Pollard was handing bottles out to the crowd on breaks.

      2. Yeah.

        Highly Placed Liars could work for a band name.

        1. Highly Placed Lyres

      3. How did I miss these guys, like totally whiffed, never knew they existed until now. Oh, well better late than never.

        1. Long ago, in The Before Times, I spent a Friday only replying to people with GBV lyrics.

          Probably my favorite song: “A Crick Uphill”

          1. Long story short, that’s how you got the ‘beetus.

  2. the outgoing president also worked with and protected an incredible number of highly placed liars and cheats.

    Under the Gooble gobble, ONE OF US! clause.

    It’s right there in the Constitution, in black and white.

    1. “Do process? I already did!”

    2. Black and white? Racist…

  3. …and even created an extra-judicial “kill list” that had American citizens on it. Due process, it turns out, was for the little people.

    Wouldn’t this mean that due process wasn’t for the little people?

    1. Yeah, I was going to pick on that too but you beat me to it. Nick needs his own full time proof reader.

      1. Yup,
        ‘…was granted impunity from circumventing…’

  4. Maybe Barry will go quietly into retirement and start building houses for poor people.

    1. You wish. Sometime around 2025 or so President Warren will nominate him for SCOTUS and he’ll fly through Senate confirmation. /nightmare fuel

      1. Two notes

        Warren will be too old to run in 2024.

        Barry will be too rich to step down to take a SCOTUS seat.

        1. Barry will be too rich to step down to take a SCOTUS seat.

          Tough call. He does love the sound of his own voice but does he love it enough to forgo the 400K a pop he’ll get for the rest of his life off the bench?

          1. He can spend the rest of his life lecturing rich white dudes at 400K for 20 minutes. So he’ll hear his own voice while ringing the cash register. Over and over and over and . . . . .

            1. Yeah, I derp-mangled my logic. You’re right of course that he will get to hear himself flapping his gums just as much if not far more on the lecture circuit.

            2. Plus the adoring fans…

      2. I bet she is kicking herself right now for not running.

        1. However much she is kicking herself, it will never be enough.

        2. Running against Hillary would mean that Warren was not of The Body.

          It was Hillary’s turn; with the DNC having their thumb firmly on the scales, I wonder who could have even beat her in the primary?

          1. According to the emails exposing the collusion and rigging we got from the “red scare hackers”, the answer was nobody. You can ask Bernie bros about that…

        3. You have to wonder what back-room deal (threat) the Clintons offered her to stay out in 2016.

          1. Exactly. Joe Biden was even afraid of what the Clinton machine could do to him. Imagine the dirt they would have had on Fauxcahontas.

            1. ^ THIS.

      3. Besides, the Facebook mob is already lining up behind Michelle.

        1. It really is the Dems’ election to lose in 2020. We’ve got impending financial and geopolitical disasters that were inevitably going to happen regardless of who the president was, and Trump seems intent on causing a few of his own making.

          Even if they dump him in 2020 primaries, it’s going to be 2008 redux.

          1. The man is a genius at taking credit for successes he did create and avoiding blame for his failure. You really think he’ll take a hit for every problem that carries over from Barry’s term?

            1. Fuck. Preview first, Submit second. . .

              The man is a genius at taking credit for successes he didn’t create

              1. Like the economy.

                The Dems have opposed fracking ever since it appeared to be an economically viable and technically feasible technology.

                Can you imagine what the economy would be like if $120/barrel oil prices had persisted in the absence of fracking? Then, consider that, absent fracking, natural gas supplies would have been inadequate to satisfy EPA demands on carbon emissions.

                All by itself, even with depressed prices, fracking has added about 2% to US GDP. However, the second order of its effect upon energy prices probably accounts for the entirety of net US economic growth in the past decade.

          2. It really is the Dems’ election to lose in 2020

            just for the record, T, aren’t you the one who predicted Michelle Obama would sweep in to replace Hillary when the FBI heat got too close? that was funny

            1. I said that repeatedly. I theorized that Barry’s Justice Department would indict Hillary just prior to the convention and that Michelle would step forward to take her place.

              Since that did not happen, I assume the Clintons presented Barry with an offer not too different than the one they offered Warren.

              1. Well, you weren’t the only one, so don’t feel bad.

                1. I thought it seemed likely also. I think that Michelle could have won it all. Not because she would be a good candidate, but because opposing her would be BOTH racist and sexist, obviously.

                  1. To quote Doc Holiday, “that’s just my game.”

                    Not that I am racist or sexist, but I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to ruffle feathers like that!

              2. “”I assume the Clintons presented Barry with an offer not too different than the one they offered Warren.””

                Life?

                1. Maybe a Supreme Court seat.

          3. It really is the Dems’ election to lose in 2020

            Running who? Booker? Michelle? Warren? Heck, maybe they’ll embalm Lewis and run him?

      4. I secretly hope that Obama is immortal and lives forever because I don’t think I’m going to be able to stomach all the hagiography when he dies.

  5. James Clapper and John Brennan lied, others behaved horribly in “scandal-free” administration.

    My prediction will be that, while Obama was scandal-free because a fawning press refused to report on his various misdeeds (even when those misdeeds were directed at the press), Trump will be scandal-free because journalists and the opposition party will have cried wolf too loudly for too long to actually get traction on what I’m sure will be actual scandals when they come.

    Snowden embarrassed the administration. No pardon.

    1. If a scandal happens in the forest and no one is around to report it, did it really happen?

      1. Blame it on a Bush and tiptoe out of said forest.

    2. Agreed. The slavish hero worship of the press over the past eight years has cost them their credibility. Now, though, they’re stark raving mad which is further eroding what little trust the American people have left for major news outlets. All of their recent hysterics over nonsense (before he’s even assumed office) is going to burnout the American voter. Trump will be scandal free, because no one believes or wants to listen to the messenger anymore.

      Dangerous times.

      I’ve gotten to the point where if the National Review and Wall Street Journal raise concern about something Trump is doing (which they already have several times regarding his business interests) then I know it’s a legitimate issue. When CNN, NYT, WaPo, and MSNBC start raising concern, I know it’s just more nonsense.

  6. people agree that the Espionage Act is ill-fitted to current realities and that, in the case of Manning at least, her imprisonment is inhumane

    Uh, why? What, exactly, about Bradley Manning’s treatment is inhumane? There’s no right to gender reassignment for prisoners, and last I check he volunteered for the military and is on trial for a court-martialable offense he committed while on duty. He has lawyers, he’s not being treated any differently from how a person in his position would be treated at any time, and the UN isn’t the best source for information about human rights, anyways. So what gives?

    1. Permanent solitary confinement would be my guess.

      1. And I agree that extended periods of solitary confinement qualifies as torture and should be banned. I’d rather be waterboarded.

            1. Damnit!

              1. Jinx! Buy me a pop. I mean coke. No wait, a soda.

                1. It’s called a ‘coke’. What kind would you like?

                2. If you’re in Texas, it’s a coke.

                  1. And by coke we mean Dr Pepper.

                3. It’s never “a pop” , instead “buy me some pop.”

        1. Maybe it’s a difference in personality, but spending a long time not having to deal with other human beings seems A-OK by me.

          1. Especially when those human beings might want to induce you to drop your soap in the communal shower so they can engage in some sweet lovin under the showers…

        2. Is he in solitary because he wants to be? Do not discount the idea. Like the dude who ate people and kept their parts in his freezer, can’t remember his name, being in the general population could equal a death sentence. The guy who’s name I can’t remember eventually left solitary and was murdered soon afterward.

          1. Well the first thing I thought was, “Sweet, they’re sending a 150-pound tranny to a maximum-security military prison. What could possibly go wrong?” Supposedly the isolation was to protect him/her from gen pop, and I’d believe it, especially considering the nature of the charges.

      2. When you have a history of leaking classified information, don’t be surprised if you’re not allowed to talk to anybody in prison.

        1. That hadn’t been established yet when he was locked up for 11 months pre-trial.

          1. Tulpa decides who is guilty, not you.

          2. Yes, it had. Just hadn’t gone through the trial process yet. Accused murderers and terrorists who have a similarly large amount of evidence of their crimes are held without bond and placed in maximum security prisons all the time, long before their trial begins.

            1. Only if they’re a physical threat or a flight risk. They’re never held without bail “because we already know they’re guilty.” And I’ve never heard of one being put in maximum security prison solitary confinement pre-trial. In fact, I’ve never heard of any put in prison. I thought they had to keep them in a jail prior to trial if a defendant didn’t meet bail. I’m sure you’ll provide us all with a few links supporting your claim.

              (I’ll not accept Gitmo as an answer because those people have been deemed “enemy combatants” and never faced arraignment or a bail hearing. I think their permanent limbo is unconstitutional.)

          3. That’s a key part of the UN report:

            Manning was initially held for almost three months at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, and then transferred in July 2010 to the Marine corps base at Quantico in Virginia. He was held there for another eight months in conditions that aroused widespread condemnation, including being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and being made to strip naked at night.

            In his opening letter to the US government on December 30 2010, Mendez said that the prolonged period of isolated confinment was believed to have been imposed “in an effort to coerce him into ‘cooperation’ with the authorities, allegedly for the purpose of persuading him to implicate others.”

            1. Sorry, the block quote is from the Guardian article which Sloopy linked to.

            2. Forced nakedness was due to suicide watch.

              The guy was a loon. He leaked all that info because he was mad about gay marriage.

              1. You’re right, because people can kill themselves with paper-like hospital clothing.

                I’ve been away for a while. But you sure are familiar.

                1. You’re right, because people can kill themselves with paper-like hospital clothing.

                  Speak for yourself. A real man could kill himself with hospital clothing in like 5 minutes.

              2. “The guy was a loon”

                Then surely he should have been institutionalized instead of imprisoned?

            3. Torture, it’s not just for Islamists

              1. Military prisons: the loons we all choose to torture together?

      3. Solitary *and* suicide watch that never lets the lights be off and requires a “welfare check” every twenty minutes, among other things. I don’t know if the suicide watch is permanent, but it would be enough to make me consider suicide.

      4. It doesn’t seem to be “permanent”, but rather in response to repeated suicide attempts.

        An alternative would seem to be to let him go through with his suicide attempts. Is that what you’re suggesting? Or what other alternatives do you have?

        1. RE-
          Reducing the circumstances that had him considering suicide would be my first choice. Letting him suicide as painlessly as possible if he so choses would be my second. Really, the same things I’d suggest for any prisoner.

        2. Why shouldn’t he be allowed to follow through with any suicide attempts?

          1. That’s escaping punishment for his crimes

    2. I think it relates to solitary confinement. Manning was held for 11 months prior to trial (so technically imprisoned without being guilty of a crime) 23 hours each day. In particular, investigators used solitary confinement as a threat. Many lawyers associated with international tribunals hold solitary confinement to be inhumane.

      I’m not taking sides on whether solitary is inhumane but I believe that’s where the charges comes from.

      1. Here’s a news report from 2012 (TW: The Guardian).

    3. he’s not being treated any differently from how a person in his position would be treated at any time

      Actually, (s)he’s being treated considerably better, now. (s)He’s getting transition treatments and therapy. Most prisoners don’t get shit for medical treatment.

    4. The reports I heard said that he had been kept in solitary, nude in a cold cell, fed shit for food and denied basic hygiene needs for months on end. I can think of people who deserve that but Brad Manning isnt one of them.

      1. Ah, OK. Hadn’t been following the case that closely; remember reading that some folks thought the very idea of a trial was itself illegitimate and damaging of human rights. I’ll agree with you that Manning doesn’t need to be treated that way arbitrarily.

      2. I blame Boosh!

  7. Will Barack Obama pardon Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, ask any stories about how whistleblowers have been treated in the past.

    That sentence is more tortured than Bradley Manning.

  8. Maybe Barry will go quietly into retirement and start building houses for poor people.

    Sadly, no.

    The tent show revivalist act is too sweet to give up. “Come up, sinner, and BE HEALED!”

  9. Barack Obama was a master of presentation

    Given how many gaffes he committed when left to his own devices, gonna have to disagree. His handlers were masters of all things campaign-related, but he was always, and forever will be, an empty suit who happens to be good at reading from a screen. Too bad he didn’t become a news anchor.

    1. Yeah, I thought that was funny too. But I’m sure you could find people in all 57 states that would disagree with us.

      1. A latte salute to you both.

    2. I thought he came across as a pedant and never got what people saw in him.

  10. Actually, I wouldn’t put it past Trump to pardon Snowden just to screw with the media narrative. And for shits and giggles.

    1. The media narrative is that Trump is a pawn of Putin. Snowden is – on alternate days – a treasonous pawn of Putin. You really think pardoning Snowden is going to screw with the narrative rather than reinforce it?

      What might screw with the narrative would be if Trump got Putin to hand over Snowden for “extreme vetting and enhanced interrogation” – and then the media would have to choose between demonizing Trump for going after the heroic whistle-blower or giving at least some grudging admission that Trump didn’t do an entirely terrible thing. We all know which way they’d go, which – aside from seeing Snowden get some props – would hopefully raise the uncomfortable question as to why Obama was slandering and threatening Snowden while the media said nothing if he’s such an heroic whistleblower.

      1. Obama can’t pardon Snowden because the evil Rethuglicans won’t let him. QED.

      2. the media would have to choose between demonizing Trump for going after the heroic whistle-blower or giving at least some grudging admission that Trump didn’t do an entirely terrible thing.

        The Gel-Man amnesia effect in action!

        The media has shown itself quite capable of engaging in the most blatant, laughably obvious doublethink in recent years. To the point where the two contradictory sentences are frequently right next to each other and coupled as if fact A caused fact B! This contradiction won’t even cause them a moment of difficulty. They’ve handled much worse.

        1. ^^^^THIS^^^^

      3. Snowden happened on Obama’s watch and embarrassed him. Add the embarrassment of his increasing Bush’s already overzealous expansion of surveillance being discovered and exposed, and, Congress, once it knew what was happening, jumped in and did the right thing, but then Barry was never much of a fan of Congress and is probably still chafing and wanting to get in his final bits of destructive vengeance as he exits.

  11. Oh, what a surprise. Man talks of principles but his actions are anything but.

    That effen picture of him mimicking Parks in the bus is insufferable and points to excessive hubris.

    1. I try to choose my words wisely so as not to overreact. Having said that, Obama isn’t fit to lick the pavement Ross Parks walked on, let alone sit in the same seat as her. She is bravery personified and he’s a petty, conniving piece of shit.

      1. When you read about what actually happened on that bus, some of the glisten comes off her halo. Did you know, for example, that she sat in the blacks-only part of the bus when she got on? The incident happened when the bus driver tried to expand the white section to accommodate people getting on later. She refused to move further back because she was tired and didn’t want to get up.

        She was just a cranky lady who happened to be in the right place at the right time to become the symbol of the struggle against an unjust law that she had always intended to follow.

        1. There’s something actually moving about someone going into the history books because of such a mundane situation.

          1. SYMBOLISM!

            Like the idiocy of Black History Month.

            That shit drives me nuts. For all the talk about inclusion and diversity that crap drives a wedge into it.

            The black experience is the AMERICAN (or Canadian since I think we ‘celebrate’ it too) experience.

            There is only AMERICAN history. To suggest or imply otherwise is to ghettoize history.

            1. Divide and conquer bro. That’s the agenda, and it worked great for them until this election for some reason..

              1. I wonder if it’s really just the need to try to make people fit into convenient pigeonholes, such as the media’s love of looking at racist blocks of voters, or demographic blocks because they’re too lazy to think outside of the box, so to say….

            2. You got it. It’s just another form of racism to create separation and focus on race rather than humanity. Same thing happens with regard to Indians, excuse me, Native Americans, err, First Americans…is that the latest one? I’d like to see us do away with the reservations and make us one nation. It was a mistake to create them as it only divides us.

        2. The bus was full. She was sitting in the first row of the black section that’s why she was the one asked to give up her seat by the white guy. She wasn’t cranky. She was a secretary at the NAACP and was familiar with the case of Claudette Colvin a young girl who was arrested months earlier for doing the same thing and is the real hero. Parks knew what she was doing and knew that she would have the full support of the NAACP who was looking for a test case because Colvin had gotten pregnant out of wedlock. It was basically a setup.

          1. What’s wrong with a setup if it’s against injustice?

        3. She also was part of the committee planning the legal challenge to the law.

          That doesn’t make her any less of a hero. Jim Crow was, at its core, held in place through a reign of terror. Anyone who challenged the laws and customs of Jim Crow, especially in ways that the legal system was insufficient to repress, faced a good chance of being the victims of lethal or very aggravated violence doled out by paramilitaries.

          That she and her co-conspirators coolly calculated how to minimize the risk and maximize their chances of victory in no way detracts from their heroism.

          1. True. But an accurate description of what occurred would have been appreciated. No need to gild the lilly.

          2. ….and this is why I come to HnR….always learnin’ stuff.

          3. How Augustan!

            They did what they had to do.

      2. Obama would’ve stood up and intercepted some other black person’s seat.

        1. More likely he would have used his white half to straddle the sections and see if moving toward the front of the back would help him more. (I’d say help his career more, but people spending their entire life in politics don’t have careers, imo. The have hosts.)

      3. “Ross” Parks. “Chelsea” Manning.

        Et tu, Rosa?

    2. I could see wanting to sit in that historic seat. But making sure you have a re-enactment photo taken is pretty sickening levels of narcissism.

      1. He never misses a photo op. Never.

        And his followers lick it up.

        1. A cult of personality around an arrogant little twerp who can’t even throw a baseball to homeplate. Pathetic.

      2. Except she was as sitting in an aisle seat when she refused to give it up.

    3. That effen picture of him mimicking Parks

      lolwut?

      1. OK I googled for myself – wow. What a narcissist.

    4. That effen picture of him mimicking Parks in the bus makes me want to puke.

      Privileged, coddled brat who undeservedly had the best of everything handed to him his whole life plays victim card and compares himself to Rosa Parks, MLK, Reagan, Jesus….and I forget who else. Textbook narcissistic personality disorder.

  12. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was granted impunity….

    I think that should be “endowed”. Hillary Clinton is “endowed” with impunity.

    1. No. Just, no. “Hillary” and “endowed” should never be in the same sentence.

      1. Can we use “hung” instead?

        1. Okay, okay. We’ll pretend I was implying she has a lot of gall. Big gall. Huge gall. Gall of brass.

        2. Hung with impunity? Works for me.

  13. “He was so good, in fact, that most of the time we had no idea just how much he was stage-managing virtually every image of him we encountered.”

    Um… no. Many of us were WELL aware of it, from the POMPOSITY and unwarranted comparison of the Rosa Parks photo to the stupid signing ceremonies to that PATHETIC attempt to reassure gun-owners that he was a normal guy with that AWFUL photo of him totally fucking up firing a shotgun.

    We were aware of it. We aren’t as stupid as the liberals believe.

    1. Precisely. Much as it was perfectly obvious to the commentariat within a few sentences that the UVA rape story was a hoax, it was perfectly obvious that he was stage-managed to within an inch of his life.

    2. Depends on who “we” is. The general public lapped that shit up.

    3. The funny part of the bus photo redux is that Obama’s upbringing and background couldn’t have been any further from that of Rosa Parks or, say, Clarence Thomas. Obama is a biracial man who grew up in Honolulu (not 1960s Georgia or Alabama), living in an condo with his well-to-do grandparents and attending a posh private school. Oh the hardships he endured!!!

      1. No doubt his white grandparents tried to spin his being a different color from everyone else around as making him “special”, to avoid making him feel like an outcast.

        They could hardly have predicted what effect this would have on his adult personality.

        1. Dude, white people are a minority in Hawaii.

      2. Oh the hardships he endured!!!

        While racist, xenophobic, out-of-touch Trumpkins, Hillary Haters, and generally bitter clingers worked the bean fields and coal mines.

      3. And yet despite his privileged upbringing, he still ended up a virulent America hating, whitey hating piece of crap.

        1. Check out Dinesh D’Souza’s take on Barry. He was so upset, he put up a website to refute it. Looks to me that D’Souza’s assessment was correct.

      4. Seriously. Read Clarence Thomas’s autobiography. He remembers one winter in the one room house in which he lived where the only heat or light came from a single bulb. He says “I was hungry with no chance of eating and I was cold with no chance of being warm”

        His grandfather, who raised him, would tell him and his brother “Old man can’t is dead. I helped bury him”.

      5. Does this mean I erred in sending my mixed-race grandson to a private school?

      6. All the while getting schooled in Marxism, Communism and the other anti-American nasty -isms. In their rush to attempt to undo the mistakes of slavery and not look like the sons and daughters of former slaveholders, those who elected Barry never bothered to see if he even liked the precepts on which our country was built. His presidency has basically been a F…U to the whole country.

    4. You mean those marble columns were… faux?

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..arack.html

    5. You mean those marble columns were… faux?

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..arack.html

  14. Another Snowden tweet:

    i know of a moscow pizza party that would make podesta turn stasi against his DC pizzeria lolol #2017not1917

  15. I hate when writers lump Manning in with Snowden. They’re not even close to equivalent situations. Snowden is a true whistleblower while Manning was just a disgruntled soldier who released a shitload of docs because he was pissy about the army not accommodating his gender confusion.

    1. I’m finding Snowden to be a mixed bag and don’t know what to make of it. He had a lot of material having nothing to do with surveying Americans, info that wasn’t given to reporters. Did he give it to the Russians, the Chinese? What was in it? How/why was he able to even get that info? Whole situation points to lots of problems: duplicate agencies with no oversight and no real accountability. How do we change this? How can Congress take action on things it doesn’t even know about? Snowden seems to be part whistleblower, part spy, but for whom? What to do now? Who in government looks into these agencies and cleans them up? We’re paying for all this. Looks like we need a deep assessment of all of our government agencies and start doing some serious pruning. I’m hoping Trump has the will and the ability to get people in place who will do this and that we have enough ethical people in Congress & Senate to do the right thing.

  16. “He was so good, in fact, that most of the time we had no idea just how much he was stage-managing virtually every image of him we encountered.”

    Wait, what?

    Speak for yourself.

    1. Hah!

      The Congressional Medal of Freedom has become a crony thank you. Latest example? Joe Biden getting one.

      1. Were I Biden I’d be hugely embarrassed by it. Say what you will about the clueless jerk, I hope he’s at least marginally self-aware enough to recognize what a Fuck You moment it was. Obama gave him an albatross to wear. From now on the prestige of the medal will be alloyed by its conferral on Biden. And for what? So Obama could give himself another media moment. Biden was just the unhappy bystander. Couldn’t happen to a more deserve jackass, but still.

    2. If you do it with your non-dominant hand it feels pretty legit.

  17. Clapper is walking free with a hefty salary from the U.S. government and Snowden is in exile. That is just amazing to me.

    1. Lay off Clapper. Literally any answer he gave to that question would have leaked classified information or been a lie. Even refusing to answer would be equivalent to a yes.

      If you ask me, it shoudl be a policy that intelligence officials refuse to answer any questions regarding the existence of a putative operation, no matter how silly or illegal. If they ask whether the US has a secret operation with pygmy marmosets firing dildo guns at cephalopod aliens on Pluto, the answer should be “I can’t confirm or deny”.

      1. Lay off Clapper. Literally any answer he gave to that question would have leaked classified information or been a lie. Even refusing to answer would be equivalent to a yes.

        Gosh! Maybe he shouldn’t have violated the fourth amendment, huh?!?

        1. Take down the image of Rosa a few pegs and try to paint Clapper as a victim of a tough job. I like this troll.

          1. This guy really reeks of Tulpa.

            1. Years back I made the mistake of engaging it. Same slimy tactics. Think it basically admitted to being Tulpa on another thread.

              1. Yeah, I don’t remember which thread but it definitely copped to being Tulpa.

            2. What, because he’s providing a sorely needed alternative voice in this echo-chamber?

              Some day, you’ll appreciate what CYP is doing here.

            3. Of what does a Tulpa reek?

              1. His mom.

                1. Vicks Vapo Rub and Cutty Sark?

              2. “Tulpa reek” – does that taste like onion when diced & sauteed?

          2. Don’t correct his spelling on the internet though, or he’ll take it as a personal insult and swear vendetta on your family for the next four generations.

        2. Clapper is his favorite top…

          man, that is.

      2. But lying to congress, and admiting you lied to congress is a ballsy F-You move. It shows who has the real power.

        Clapper should be in jail.

        1. I’m thinking it indicates a lack of agency accountability to a branch of government to which it should be accountable, also to far too broad extension of power to the judicial branch.

      3. Lay off Clapper.

        By that you mean hand him his walking papers?

        1. He’s already leaving.

            1. Justice (the law) is only to be applied the little people and the political enemies of the left.

      4. The question:

        does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?

        How could the answer possibly be classified? Maybe a follow-on question going into further detail would have involved sources or methods. But the question itself is exactly the sort of public-interest information that it would be illegal to classify.

      5. I agree!

        Clapper, Brennan, and their merry crew really should not be faulted. They were only obeying orders. The raison d’etre of the intelligence services is to lie, cheat, steal, and kill on behalf of the state.

        Obedience to orders is a defense for any crime that always works unless your side loses a war.

  18. Remember when Obama said he was going to have a “team of rivals” just like LIncoln, and then used the same bible as Lincoln for his swearing in ? Christ what an asshole.

    1. Oh, Lincoln. I forgot that one. He compared himself to Lincoln and Washington also.

    2. Remember when he bloviated from a podium with the made-up logo:

      “The Office of the President Elect”?

      1. Trump has done likewise.

        Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss.

        1. Do you have a pic of Trump using that logo??

          That would be a … useful photo.

  19. Lay off Clapper.

    He’s a patriot and a hero. We’re just too dumb to realize it.

  20. Lumping Manning and Snowden together is dumb. What they did isn’t remotely the same thing even if both could be broadly classified as “leaks”. Manning didn’t ‘blow the whistle’ on anything specific. He she it they just dumped a mountain of classified info into Wikileaks, some of which turned out to be ’embarassing’ to the admin after the fact. There was no specific knowledge of any criminal act/ iolation of public trust going on that they wanted to draw attention to – it was mostly motivated out of spite, and “Because they could”. Even if there were some tidbits of newsworthy intel in the Manning dump, none of it balanced out the widespread damages caused by making-public reams of classified diplomatic cables

    Snowden is a ‘criminal of conscience’. Manning was a malcontent. they don’t belong in the same category.

    1. Correct.

    2. Do not forget that Manning’s info exposed people who had been aiding the government against the Taliban. He exposed the names of people who had informed on Islamists. He is a criminal not a “whistleblower”.

  21. Was the secretary of state he appointed and answered to the executive not full of scandals?

  22. The Manning thing is such a cluster fuck. First. Manning is a criminal and did deserve to be court martialed for what he did. What he did, however, in no way warranted the sentence he got. Manning should have gotten a dishonorable discharge and maybe ten years. He should never have gotten 30+ years or whatever he got. That was gross and excessive for his actual crimes.

    That being said, in era where veterans can’t get proper treatment for service related injuries and prisoners rarely get proper medical treatment at all, that they are spending resources giving him a sex change operation, including voice lessons to learn how to talk like a woman (I am not fucking kidding), is almost as big of an outrage as his sentence was. The President should commute his sentence to ten years and no fucking way in hell should he be getting a sex change operation at government expense.

    1. Manning should have gotten a dishonorable discharge and maybe ten years. He should never have gotten 30+ years or whatever he got. That was gross and excessive for his actual crimes.

      agreed.

      as i said above, they might bear no similarities in the ‘crime’ they committed, but the penalties dished out on manning were pretty bullshit.

    2. Not having been in the Warrior Class, it’s tough for me to say what punishment is correct for betrayal. That being said, 30+ years is basically a total life destroying sentence, so I don’t get the compassion they’re showing by giving Manning the operation. More craziness.

      1. He did commit a crime. He was also a specialist who should have never had such unsupervised access to that amount of information. The reason his crime was so extensive is because the failure of his supervisors and leadership was so extensive. He shouldn’t be punished for their failure.

        Ultimately, he was a stupid soldier who had no idea of the gravity of what he was doing or the hell that was going to come down on him for doing it. He wasn’t working for a foreign power and he didn’t do it trying to get rich. That doesn’t excuse him but it does mitigate his crime to a significant degree. And it is not like a Dishonorable Discharge and 10 years in the clink is an insignificant penalty or something future would be criminals are not going to be deterred by. Keeping him 30 years accomplishes nothing beyond raw revenge.

        1. yep on all points.

          Also – lumping him w/ snowden severely diminishes the significance and forethought behind what snowden actually did.

          Snowden deserves some clemency for acting in the public interest. Manning ‘deserves’ nothing, but should never have been treated so harshly. he acted foolishly. by seeking the harshest possible penalties they were just trying to make an example out of him. that point has already been made and there’s little purpose to jailing the gender-blendered goof for its entire life.

          1. Snowden deserves a felony conviction but a commuted sentence.

            1. that’s probably right.

              I suspect Snowden would probably accept that sort of thing, but simply can’t trust that the Gov would ever see fit to restrain itself.

              1. Indeed. Snowden committed the most heinous crime of all, a crime against the state.

        2. I’m not sure that we know about his motives. He may have known exactly what he was doing. I can understand wanting to expose surveillance on Americans, but why was he stealing info that had nothing to do with that? That indicates something much more sinister. He has not returned to present his case. The extent of gov surveillance on its own citizens needed to be exposed, but what the heck was all the other info, why did he take it and who has it now? Even more important, how can we make our security agencies accountable to us and Congress? Looks like we’ve gone far beyond the Constitution and that the powers of the Judicial Branch have extended way to far.

    3. I always thought Manning sounded like a reckless asshole, and I think he actually released information that put people in danger and he did not question the consequences. Snowden was more careful and calculated.

      1. Reckless asshole is exactly what Manning is. I just don’t think life in prison is the appropriate sentence for that. And the fact that we are paying for his sex change is infuriating.

        1. Heavens to Betsy, John is right.

          1. No, it’s Bradley to Chelsea.

        2. I agree.

    4. And we wonder why we have so much national debt. Americans really need to be a strong voice in pushing Congress to start doing some deep cleanup in gov and get the spending in check. The inanity of some of the decisions, like taxpayers paying for a criminal’s sex change op is astounding.

  23. Is Reason finally figuring out that the left is full-on fascist, or did we hurt their wallet during the last drive?

  24. Manning should not be lumped in together with Snowden.

  25. Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?

    1. They ended up in prison or escaping to the Soviet Union before they were caught.

  26. Look, Lynch says she regrets her unscheduled, highly questionable meeting with Clinton prior to Comey’s equally dubious decision to decline charges. What more do you teabaggers want??

    1. Yeah they always regret doing shit after they have been caught but never before. Funny that.

      1. Just like Clinton is super duper sorry about her crimes eccentricities.

        What a bunch of assholes.

      2. They also always take “full responsibility”, which means both jack and shit.

        1. They’re taking responsibility for a few weeks’ worth of media scrutiny gladhanding meant to imitate scrutiny.

        2. Yep. If memory serves, Janet Reno took full responsibility for Waco.

          1. You can see how fully she shouldered that burden of responsibility by how she continued to be AG for the remainder of Clinton’s first term and all of his second term.

            Accountability!

    2. I seriously believe that Lynch ordered Comey what to say back in July. He could have resigned in protest. He could have said, “The decision belongs to the Attorney General” but chose to lay out the damning evidence and then fall on the sword himself by claiming it was his decision to not recommend and indictment.

      That probably pissed him off more and more as time passed and it looked like Hillary might win. Therefor the letter to congress.

      1. I can’t imagine FBI or any of the other agencies would be enamored of the Clintons or look forward to their being in office. I imagine their are some of them who actually love their country.

  27. From the Wikipedia entry of Nixon AG John Mitchell

    Mitchell’s name was mentioned in a deposition concerning Robert L. Vesco, an international financier who was a fugitive from a federal indictment. Mitchell and Nixon Finance Committee Chairman Maurice H. Stans were indicted in May 1973 on federal charges of obstructing an investigation of Vesco after he made a $200,000 contribution to the Nixon campaign.[18] In April 1974, both men were acquitted in a New York federal district court.[19]

    On February 21, 1975, Mitchell, who was represented by the criminal defense attorney William G. Hundley, was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury and sentenced to two and a half to eight years in prison for his role in the Watergate break-in and cover-up, which he dubbed the “White House horrors.” As a result of the conviction, Mitchell was disbarred from the practice of law in New York.[20] The sentence was later reduced to one year from four years by United States district court Judge John J. Sirica. Mitchell served only 19 months of his sentence at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, a minimum-security prison, before being released on parole for medical reasons.[21]

    1. Both Lynch and Holder are guilty of worse crimes than Mitchell and neither will be so much as indicted much less serve time in prison.

      1. Politicians today don’t even pretend to have any sense of honor or stewardship

        1. We need to hold them accountable. The nice thing is that with the internet, it’s hard to hide anything anymore, as news gets around really fast. The problem is that, even with exposition, those in position to do something don’t, or there aren’t enough of them willing to do the right thing, eg Rand Paul trying to work toward a balanced budget when even Trump, who says he’ll clean the swamp, wants to add Trumpcare to the debt. Add the whole raft of Congresspeople plying their pork onto bills having nothing to do with their pork provisions. Maybe we need to push Congress to have single-issue bills, so that practice can’t happen anymore. If we had that, we wouldn’t need line item veto. Another problem is an uneducated public that doesn’t know its own history or how government works, or worse, doesn’t care unless it affects them personally or when it’s too late to do something. I think, however, in what I’m seeing lately, that the demise of PC and leftist fascistic socialism may be at hand.

  28. Crystal kingdoms are where integrity goes to get its little balls punched bloody in velvet rooms swirling with crawlers, jerkers, and slappers oozing cocktail sweat and smug disregard.

    A raped and defeated whore eternally burning on humanity’s stake of cultured chaos describes the spirit of ethics crumbling forever within the gilded canyons.

    Justice is a pale fog spat from the assholes of insulated covens pillared over the distasteful and ordinary.

    1. I think I’ve become one of the Reasonoids, I just understood all of that and agree.

      1. Like any great art, you just have to let Agile’s words flow over you.

      2. Try and tell me this

        ” oozing cocktail sweat and smug disregard”

        does not perfectly encapsulate our political class.

    2. Ethics is a whore? Maiden might have been a better choice.

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  30. But what about the Dread Pirate Roberts?

  31. Well, a commutation is not a pardon, which may matter in Assange’s eyes. He said he’d surrender if Manning is pardoned….

    1. Good to know that Assange’s hacking & busybody addiction has put him right where he is now. He’s like a kid who just discovered his parents have sex and, not only can’t stop blabbing about the discovery, but can’t turn away from the keyhole.

  32. Racism is very much alive in America after our First Black President. All the transsexuals in prison and he only frees the white one!

    1. Here’s what you’re missing: A black man is pardoning a white man.

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