Tag Archives: treason

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.

Trump a traitor: not yet … maybe

I am getting mildly uncomfortable with all the chatter about the alleged acts of treason that Donald J. Trump may have committed.

I hear it from my social media network of “friends” and friends; I use the term in those two forms, because some of my social media “friends” aren’t the real thing, just acquaintances.

I’m not yet ready to climb aboard the treason bandwagon.

Yes, I am horrified at what I am seeing from this president. His groveling at Vladimir Putin’s feet. His disparaging of our intelligence networks’ view that Russia attacked our electoral system. His constant and incessant lying about almost any topic you can imagine.

Having said all that, I am going to wait for special counsel Robert Mueller to complete the task that’s been handed to him. The Justice Department picked the former FBI director to look closely at allegations of “collusion” between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russians who interfered in our 2016 election.

I have high faith in Mueller’s integrity and in his ability to conduct a meticulous investigation. I reject categorically any notion that his probe is “the most corrupt in history,” as some on Trump’s legal team have asserted.

However, until he finishes his work and issues a final report, I want to remain a bit circumspect over what the president might have done, or whether he, indeed, has betrayed the nation that elected him to the highest office in our land.

Others are free to express themselves. I’ll continue to offer my own view on what I think of Trump as president. I make no apology for my own disdain for him as a person and my sincere belief in his unfitness for the job he occupies.

I just am not yet going to hang the worst possible label on him until we hear from the man charged with getting all the information out to the public that needs to know the truth about how this guy got elected to office.

Treason: a serious four-letter word

One more comment on “treason,” and then I’m out … maybe, perhaps, hopefully.

When the president of the United States accuses fellow Americans of committing a treasonous act, he is accusing them of aiding and abetting enemies of the state. He is saying that those who commit such acts should be punished accordingly; the law allows traitors to be, um, executed.

Thus, when Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump tosses the t-word at congressional Democrats whose “crime against the state” is to sit on their hands during the president’s State of the Union speech, he’s being politically vulgar in the worst way possible.

Trump did that while speaking to an Ohio crowd this week. He called Democrats’ actions “un-American”; someone in the crowd yelled “treasonous,” which Trump heard and took it to the next step.

“Why not?” he asked about the word, getting guffaws and hoots from the adoring crowd.

Members of the loyal opposition often are impolite, or rude, or sometimes insulting during these speeches. However, hanging the ultimate four-letter word around them — calling their actions “treasonous” — betrays an utter ignorance of the very principle on which the Founding Fathers created the greatest nation on Earth.

Moreover, I am inclined to think that a more treasonous act would be to collude with a foreign power to corrupt our electoral process … if that happened, of course.

Sickening.

‘Treason’ makes a great punch line, yes? No!

Donald John “Jokester in Chief” Trump just keeps coming up with these knee-slappers.

He stood today before an audience and joked — at least I hope it was a joke — that Democrats who sat on their hands during the State of the Union speech the other night were committing “treason.”

“Can we call that ‘treason’? Why not?” he said.

I just can’t stop laughing. The guy just cracks me up.

Were it not for the word “treason,” the president could take this act on the road. Oh, wait! He did!

Whatever.

I don’t think “treason” is the kind of word that the president of the United States should toss around as a punch line at a rally.

Mr. President, what occurred at your State of the Union speech was a form of civil disobedience. There is no law requiring congressional Democrats to stand and applaud, just as there is no law that required Republicans to do so when Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union speeches.

Oh, but you know that already.

You do know it. Don’t you?

Collusion with Russians = treason?

This investigation into whether Donald J. Trump’s presidential colluded with Russian election hackers is as serious as it gets.

I mean, we’re talking essentially about an of act of treason … potentially, allegedly.

I’ve referred to it as “the Russia thing,” which is what the president called it in an interview not long after he fired FBI Director James Comey. I don’t mean to diminish the importance of what special counsel Robert Mueller is trying to ferret out.

Quite obviously, I have no inside knowledge of what Mueller is looking at or what he might find. I simply read the news like everyone else and am able to draw some conclusions from what I read and hear.

Virtually no one disputes that Russians meddled in our 2016 presidential election. Intelligence analysts say it happened; they say the Russians acted singularly. The only important person who doubts what the spooks have affirmed is the president of the United States. He keeps equivocating.

This is an important matter on many levels. It exposes the vulnerability of our electoral process to foreign interference. The Russians are (a) very good at this sort of Internet sabotage and (b) they remain our most formidable international adversary.

Trump keeps saying he wants to cultivate relations with Russia. How does he do that when the Russians are not to be trusted at any level to keep their word on anything?

The election meddling by itself is bad enough. Any notion that a presidential campaign worked in tandem with a foreign adversary to have a demonstrable impact on our election goes straight to the heart of protecting our nation’s interests against governments that seek to do us harm.

Mueller’s investigation is going to take time, as it should. There can be no rush to judgment on something so intensely important as this. The Mueller probe has many avenues down which it must go.

It must determine whether Donald Trump Jr. actually sought to receive dirt from the Russian government on Hillary Rodham Clinton; it must learn whether Trump Sr.’s firing of Comey constitutes an obstruction of justice; it must learn whether the Trump campaign actually greased the Russians’ path that enabled them to meddle in our sacred electoral process.

And none of that includes any possible financial connection between the president’s business empire and the Russians — which he has denied. Oh, but then again, are we supposed to believe the president’s assertion that he has no business deals in Russia?

The No. 1 issue on the table must be whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and a foreign power. If the special counsel delivers a formal complaint that it occurred, well, ladies and gentlemen … then we’ve got a serious constitutional crisis on our hands.

Immunity request: Does it signal guilt … or what?

Donald J. Trump once thought requests for immunity from key witnesses implied they were guilty of something.

Now the president of the United States is saying something quite different. Imagine that, if you can.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn wants congressional committees to grant him immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony on what he knows about Trump’s possible connection with Russian government hackers.

Guilty of something? Or is he trying to avoid what he calls “unfair prosecution”?

Flynn has a story to tell.

Something tells me it might be the former. That means the president’s one-time belief seems to hold up today.

Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general — and an acknowledged brilliant battlefield commander — served as national security honcho for 24 days. Then he was pushed out by the president over questions about meetings he allegedly had with Russian government officials.

Oh, yes. The Russian government has been named by U.S. intelligence agencies as trying to hack into our computer network with the intention of influencing the 2016 presidential election.

Trump’s response? He has disparaged U.S. spooks, comparing them to Nazis. He has said nary a discouraging word about Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Flynn’s role is key here. Does he know something that he cannot tell because he might face criminal charges himself? And, oh by the way, does any of this include the possibility of treason?

I’ve tried to weigh this matter: immunity to protect someone who might have betrayed his nation?

I believe the president — and Flynn, for that matter — were right initially. Immunity requests would seem to imply criminal guilt.

Make Gen. Flynn talk, even at the risk of facing criminal prosecution.

‘Patriot’ tosses out the ‘t-word’ to media

Original caption: Benedict Arnold.  Treason of Arnold.  He persuaded Andre to conceal the papers in his boot. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

I can think of few things worse to call someone than a “traitor.”

“Child molester” comes to mind. So does “murderer.”

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/08/12/trump_rally-goer_to_cnn_reporter_i_am_a_patriot_and_you_are_a_traitor.html

But the guy noted in this video link has decided that he is an “American patriot” and that a CNN news crew comprises “traitors.”

He uttered that epithet at the end of a Donald J. Trump campaign rally where, I am guessing, the Republican Party presidential nominee had some unkind things to say about the media.

The barbs Trump likely slung at the media got the requisite cheers from the crowd.

And then it¬†produced this response from the self-described “American patriot,” who also felt the need to offer the middle-finger salute to the camera crew.

Nice …

Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.