Barack Obama issued a slew of commutations Tuesday, meaning that 273 convicted criminal will be released. The two newsiest commutations were of Chelsea Manning, the Army intelligence analyst who passed hundreds of thousands of diplomatic and military documents to Wikileaks, and Puerto Rican terrorist Oscar López Rivera, instrumental in various atrocities, most notably the 1975 Fraunces Tavern bombing in New York that killed four people.
Chelsea Manning, a transsexual who was formerly Bradley Manning, was sentenced to 35 years for espionage in 2013. That was after three years in the brig. She'll have served seven years when released this coming May.
López Rivera was arrested in 1981 and sentenced to 55 years that same year. He's a communist and a Puerto Rican nationalist. At his trial he declared defiantly that, quote, "Puerto Rico will be a free and socialist country." Bill Clinton actually offered him clemency in 1999 if he would renounce terrorism, but López Rivera refused.
As an enthusiastic supporter of Puerto Rican independence, may I please remind the incoming administration of the modest proposal I put forward a year and a half ago, quote:
If I were running the CIA … I'd stage a Castro-style coup in Puerto Rico and install a fiercely anti-American dictator, to give us the excuse to sever ties and blockade the place for fifty years.End quote. Well, it looks to me like this is just the guy we need. Once he's out of jail we just have to get him to the island and supply him with a decent arsenal. There must be enough people there who'll rally to his cause, if suitably bribed. It'd work out a lot cheaper than what the place currently costs us.
My response on reading about these commutations was mild disgust — directed at Obama, I mean. One guy — sorry, gal — committed gross espionage, resulting in who knows how many deaths; not from ideological convictions or plain cash, but apparently out of hurt feelings at having been bullied by fellow soldiers for his effeminate demeanor when she was a he. The other guy participated in the killing and attempted killing of innocent New York civilians and police officers. Why commute these particular persons?
Well, the first is transsexual and the second is Latino. These were Diversity commutations. You know it; you know that's the way Obama's mind works; you know that if either had been a cisgendered white guy, there would have been no commutations.
Once again, let's give thanks that for a few years at least, we'll have a Chief Executive to whom that kind of thinking is alien.