Tag Archives: treason

‘Treason’ becomes a vastly misused term

Donald Trump has accused U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of committing an act of “treason” as he leads the House probe into whether to impeach the president of the United States.

With that, I turned to my handy-dandy, dog-eared American Heritage Dictionary, which describes “treason” thusly:

“The betrayal of one’s country, esp. by aiding an enemy.”

Why look it up? Why question yet again the wisdom of the president’s unhinged rhetoric?

For starters, Chairman Schiff has performed a duty that the law prescribes. He chairs a House committee and has embarked on a task set forth in the U.S. Constitution. His conduct is the exact opposite of treasonous. He is a patriot who is doing his duty under the law.

Now, what about the president? Has he committed a treasonous act? I do subscribe to that notion, either.

Donald Trump has violated the oath of office he took by soliciting help from a foreign government on his re-election effort and in digging up dirt on a political opponent. However, I want to make this point abundantly clear: The president has committed an act of treason. He hasn’t “aided an enemy” state. It’s not as if the United States is in a state of war with Russia, or with Ukraine, or with any nation on Earth for that matter. I include North Korea in that last point, given that Congress never declared war against North Korea when we sent troops to fight the communist nation during the Korean War in 1950.

Of all the major political figures misusing the “treason” epithet, Donald Trump is by far the most egregious offender. He hurls it at foes with zero regard to the immense consequence of what the term entails and the punishment that falls on those who commit such an act.

He won’t stop misusing the term. He cannot stop.

Donald Trump is scaring the daylights out of many millions of his fellow Americans. I happen to be one of them.

Let’s quit tossing ‘treason’ around so cavalierly

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is the latest politician to toss around the word “treason.”

She said on ABC News’ “This Week” that those who are going after Donald Trump are seeking what amounts to a coup against the duly elected president and, therefore, might be guilty of a treasonous act.

Hold . . . the . . . phone, Ms. Cheney!

For that matter, the same admonition goes out to those who are tossing the accusation at Donald Trump and his allies, too.

I hate the word “treason,” especially when it’s being used for immediate-term political gain.

My handy-dandy American Heritage dictionary defines “treason” as “the betrayal of one’s country.” The maximum penalty for treason is death. Yes, men and women have died for committing acts of treason. They’ve been caught spying for enemy states, or for joining the other side in a time of war.

Liz Cheney’s use of the word “treason” is quite troubling. She told ABC News: “We had people that are at the highest levels of our law enforcement . . . saying that they were going to stop a duly elected president of the United States.”

“That sounds an awful lot like a coup and it could well be treason.”

C’mon, congresswoman. Settle down. These folks at the “highest levels of our law enforcement” are seeking answers to troubling questions. It is not treasonous to search for them, even if it puts the president into some political jeopardy.

I just am weary of hearing the term being tossed around the way we toss around verbiage of much less dire significance.

The only way to assert anything of the sort is for there to be a full-blown investigation into specific charges of such activity. Absent any of that, all we have is political posturing.

“Treason” is the quintessential condemnation that mustn’t be used as political bait.

Trump tosses ‘coup’ around too loosely

Donald Trump stood before the National Rifle Association and declared that Robert Mueller was part of a so-called “coup” attempt to overthrow the president.

Hmm. Interesting. This is the same guy, Trump, who also complimented Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee as a “great general.”

Hold on a second.

Mueller was conducting a legitimate investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016. There was no “coup” being led by the former FBI director and the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who appointed him to be special counsel.

As for Robert E. Lee, he led an army of men who actually sought to overthrow the government of the United States of America. His armed forces killed hundreds of thousands of men in pursuit of that traitorous act, which he committed in order to allow states to keep human beings in bondage as slaves.

Isn’t that an act of treason? I guess Trump doesn’t see it that way.

Yet he considers Robert Mueller’s investigation into a legitimate attack on our system of government to be an attempted “coup”?

I’ll say it again and I’ll keep saying it until this man walks out of the Oval Office for the final time: Donald Trump is a disgrace to the office he is utterly unfit at any level you can imagine to occupy.

Another Confederate monument to come down

The Dallas City Council has joined the chorus of governing bodies to speak out against the memorialization of a struggle that sought to destroy the United States of America.

Voting 11-4, the council decided to remove a Confederate war memorial from property near City Hall in downtown Dallas.

I will stand and cheer the council’s decision.

The monument, as stated at the council meeting, is “non-contributing structure for the historic overlay district.” I guess that’s some sort of code that means the structure is of no discernable value.

Bring it down! The council voted to spend $480,000 to disassemble and remove it.

Confederate War Memorial is coming down

Statues such as this have a place in museums. They don’t belong necessarily on public property. Other communities have been going through this debate for some time. They are taking down these structures — statues, plaques, engravings, etc. — that commemorate the Civil War, the nation’s bloodiest conflict.

Let’s not be coy or cagey about why the Confederacy came into being: Those states wanted to retain the power to enslave human beings, to relegate them to be the “property” of slave owners.

To preserve that hideous policy, they formed the Confederate States of America and then some Confederate troops opened fire on the Union garrison in Charleston Bay, S.C.

Thus, in April 1861, the Civil War began with an act of treason!

We shouldn’t honor such an act.

GOP losing patience, finally, with POTUS?

The beginning of the end of the Trump presidency came and went a long time ago. I have never wavered from my oft-stated convictions that (a) Trump will not finish out his term, and (b), the end will be triggered by a presidential meltdown that forces the Vichy Republicans in Washington to mount an insurrection — if only to save their own asses, not the country. This week was a big step toward that endgame, and surely one of the most remarkable weeks in American history.

So writes Frank Rich, a writer for New York Magazine and a former columnist for the New York Times.

Those “Vichy Republicans,” and they include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and lame-duck House Speaker Paul Ryan, took a shiv in the back from Donald J. Trump.

They thought they had a deal to keep the government running. The Senate voted unanimously to send a spending bill to the House — but with no money to build that damn wall along our southern border.

The House got its hands on it. Right wing radio talkers got the ear of the president and told him he was betraying that shrinking base of his base by not demanding money for the wall. Trump called Ryan to the White House and told he had changed his mind, that he wouldn’t sign the bill.

The government has been shut down. Yes, it’s a partial shutdown. However, it still affects hundreds of thousands of federal employees . . . at Christmas!

Is this the moment that the GOP finally — finally! — will stand up to this goofball president?

Meanwhile, the president’s chaos pattern escalated with the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, who quit over severe disagreements about the way the president develops policy statements. By that I refer to the Twitter torrents that announce policies such as, oh, the withdrawal of about 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria. There was no consultation with allies, with the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA, the DNI. Trump did it all by himself.

That did it for Mattis. He has quit and will walk away with his reputation intact.

Meanwhile, the federal government will stagger along. The president will continue to operate in a chaotic atmosphere.

How much longer will Trump’s supposed GOP allies tolerate it?

I will leave you with this from Rich’s commentary: The Mattis resignation is huge. It’s not that he was the last “adult in the room” but that as a retired military man and a secretary of Defense with access to both foreign intelligence and the inner workings of the White House, he knows treason when he sees it.

Wow!

Does this make you proud of POTUS?

I am running out of ways to express my disgust, disdain and uber-disappointment in the president of the United States.

Donald John “Smart Gut” Trump retweeted this picture that shows some familiar images of men and women behind bars. You have a couple of former presidents, two former attorneys general, two former FBI directors (one of whom is a special counsel examining “The Russia Thing”), a former first lady/senator/secretary of state/presidential candidate and, well . . .  some others.

It galls me in the extreme that Donald Trump would send an image out with the word “treason” under his name. A good number of Americans are wondering the very same thing about the president himself, whether he might have committed the t-word by meeting with Russian operatives who had attacked our supposedly inviolable electoral system during the 2016 presidential election.

This is precisely the kind of thing, the retweeting of such a defamatory image by the president, that reminds us of the kind of man we have representing this country at the highest levels of international relations.

This is the stuff of a bully, the kind of individual who the first lady herself has pledged to combat with her still-unspecified campaign to rid the culture of this hideous behavior.

And yet . . .

The 38 percent of Americans who continue to revel in this individual’s presence as president cheer him on. They continue to refuse to acknowledge the shame in knowing that their president is capable of such hideous public pronouncement.

Despicable.

Gen. Lee and Gen. Washington equal? Nope

I received a scolding today from someone I respect very much. We’re connected on social media; he read a blog item I published and then reminded me of something I feel the need to challenge — respectfully, of course.

My blog item mentioned that Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was a traitor to the United States when he led soldiers into battle against forces fighting to preserve the Union.

My friend then responded by telling me that Gen. George Washington also committed an act of treason by rebelling against England in the 18th century. Gen. Washington led his army against the soldiers fighting for The Crown. Had the colonists lost the American Revolution, he said, they would have been hanged.

This argument comes forward every now and then by those who seek to defend Gen. Lee against those — such as me — who contend that he committed treason by siding with the Confederates in their effort to split the country apart.

I am not going to put words into my friend’s mouth, but surely he doesn’t equate the two acts of rebellion.

Had the revolution failed, we well might be speaking with British accents and paying exorbitant taxes without having any say in how much we should pay.

And if the Confederates had won the Civil War, they would have created a nation that allowed for the continued enslavement of human beings.

There really isn’t a scintilla of moral equivalence, in my eyes at least, between the struggles. The revolution produced a nation built on the concept of freedom and liberty for all; the Declaration of Independence delivers out a long list of grievances that the founders sought to be eliminated. The Civil War erupted because some states wanted the authority to determine whether they could keep human beings in bondage.

I’m not sure what my friend is suggesting. Surely he doesn’t intend to equate one with the other.

I need to stipulate, too, that had the founders failed to create a nation after the revolution, there might have been scant reason for immigrants to travel across the ocean to the Land of Opportunity. My grandparents would have stayed in Greece and Turkey. My parents wouldn’t have met. I wouldn’t have been born.

Many millions of Americans had skin in that revolutionary game.

Therefore, I’m glad the founding fathers rebelled against the king.

‘Treason’ gets misused yet again

Donald J. Trump has this fetish involving the word “treason.”

He tosses it out there, accusing others of committing such acts without understanding how the U.S. Constitution actually defines the term. It’s quite specific and has not a damn thing to do with newspapers publishing anonymous op-ed essays submitted by someone at the inner circle of the Trump administration.

Article III Section 3 says this about treason: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

“Levying war … or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

How is the president misusing the term? He tweeted a message “TREASON” immediately after word came that The New York Times had published the anonymous op-ed essay. Trump is wrong. I would say “deliberately” wrong, except that he likely hasn’t ever read the constitutional definition of “treason.” The essay speaks to a “resistance” movement within the White House that seeks to protect the nation from the president’s more troublesome instincts.

As for the “aid and comfort” clause in Article III, perhaps the president ought to be a whole lot more circumspect if he is going to toss the t-word out at his foes. The closest thing I’ve seen to providing aid and comfort to hostile powers has been Trump’s shameful refusal to condemn specifically the Russian attack on our 2016 presidential election.

A president who knows better is likely to avoid playing fast and loose with a term that defines the worst crime one can commit against the United States.

What’s more, the punishment for such a crime is, um, death. Is that what Donald Trump is suggesting should happen to whoever is responsible for an anonymously written essay?

I mean, seriously?

Op-ed writer has committed ‘treason’? Good grief!

Let me see if I have this right.

Someone within the Donald J. Trump administration writes a commentary, submits it to the New York Times, which the newspaper publishes anonymously. It speaks to chaos and panic within the White House and to an administration “resistance” movement to shield the nation from the president’s more impulsive instincts.

The president gets so angry he demands that the NYT release the writer’s name so that he or she can be turned over “to the government.”

For what? To be prosecuted for, um, an unspecified “crime”? The president is off his rocker. He’s gone ’round the bend. He’s off the rails.

The writer — whoever he or she is — has every right to speak his or her mind. The U.S. Constitution guarantees it. They committed not a single act of “treason,” which the president alluded to in a Twitter message.

Many of Trump’s senior advisers are running away from the op-ed, saying they didn’t write it. Not all of them have offered the denial.

What is so remarkable and, frankly, disgraceful is that Trump is categorizing this act as “treasonous.” One can question the ethics of publishing an anonymous essay; one also can question the courage of the author who refused to put a name on the submission. Those are legitimate debating points.

However, treason is way off the mark. It is beyond the pale. For the president to imply a threat that the op-ed author should be arrested and detained speaking his or her mind reveals — yet again — total ignorance of what is contained in the U.S. Constitution.

Still trying to process that bizarre joint appearance

Nearly a week later and that mind-blowing press availability with Donald J. Trump and Vladimir Putin is still the talk of the town.

Or the nation. Maybe the world.

I’m still trying to make sense of it. I’m trying to determine what in the world is rattling around in the president’s noggin. I’m trying to figure out why in the name of bilateral relations he didn’t call Putin out for what damn near everyone on Earth knows he did: the Russian president orchestrated the cyber attack on our electoral system in 2016.

I’m still not ready to say that Trump has broken the law and committed an act of treason for which he could be prosecuted, convicted and given the ultimate sentence … of death.

But damn! As former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates said this week, Trump might be the first president in history who isn’t “all in” with regard to standing up for the United States of America.

I believe she is correct. Trump’s hideous disparaging of our intelligence agencies and his acceptance of Putin’s denial that he attacked our electoral system spoke volumes about the president’s commitment to the nation he governs. It’s not there!

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. As many of us have noted — and I’m one of them — Trump entered the 2016 campaign after never run for any public office of any kind. Public service is a totally foreign concept to this guy. He gauges every move, every decision, every action on its impact on his poll standing, or his “ratings.”

Then we have that Helsinki event. The president who vowed to “get tough” with our adversaries has gotten soft. The president who said he would “make America great again” has made America the world’s laughingstock. The man who vowed to “put America first” has now put our foes first, starting with Russia.

All the while he keeps yapping and yammering about “rigged witch hunts” while getting angry when his Cabinet doesn’t fawn over his every pronouncement.

And he keeps lying.

My head is about to explode.