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    • How Gunpowder Ended the Middle Ages
      Some time back I read a book called The Foundations of Early Modern Europe, 1460-1559. One thread I picked out as particularly clear was their explanation of the effects of gunpowder. The first bit is what as known as pike and shot. Early gunpowder weapons were slow and inaccurate. But late medieval pike units had already changed warfare: not only could they […]
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Twitching tin foil antenna

Something doesn’t feel right about the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. Consider the following:

1.) Obama’s administration has been notoriously secretive and pursues leakers and investigative reporters with zeal. The Obama years may have been boring because no one was willing to step out of line knowing that they would be ruined financially or imprisoned. 

2.) Regardless of her motives, Manning disclosed some important documentation and State Department secrets to Wikileaks. The disclosures may have compromised assets. We’re not talking about casual emails between political operatives. We are talking serious leaking. 

3.) Julian Assange wanted Manning’s release. We already know that Assange is vindictive asshole. He doesn’t want Manning released out of the goodness of his heart. 

4.) Obama has been weirdly passive about the Russian hacks of the DNC server. He seemed to be perfectly content to bring a knife to a gunfight before the election. Now he’s accommodating Wikileaks after we know there was collusion between the Russians and Assange. 

I’m not saying that Manning’s sentence was fair or that as a transgender woman in a male prison facility that her life isn’t exceedingly difficult. I’m going to guess that anyone who is incarcerated has had something devastating happen to his or her life. Transgender adds a layer of complication but may not be harder than giving your kids up after birth. We should have more compassion for prisoners in general. 

But something about this scenario just doesn’t fit. Is it possible that Assange has something bigger on Obama or the US government?  What is it? 

Because otherwise, this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.