The Definition of Treason

18 U.S. Code § 2381 – Treason

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 807; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(2)(J), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)


True to form, Obama has been careful and measured in characterizing the political and legal implications of Russia’s scheme to put Trump in the White House.  But while Obama may feel constrained by the weighty obligation to ensure a peaceful transfer of power, neither the media nor we citizens are similarly limited.   If Trump or members of his campaign had knowledge of or where complicit in Russia’s scheme, we can and should call that by its rightful name:  treason.

Here’s what is known to date.

Russia illegally hacked the DNC and selectively released content to Wikileaks with the intent of promoting a Trump win in the US presidential election.   The CIA, FBI and Director of National Intelligence agree on this.

At the same time, Trump has taken surprising steps — surprising especially coming from the historically anti-Putin GOP camp — to soften the US position on Russia.  Indeed, due to influence of the Trump team, a softer position on Russia was even made part of the GOP’s platform.  Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, has had extensive political dealings with the Russian government, as have Trump surrogates Carter Page and Jack Kingston.  Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s future National Security Adviser, has appeared as a commentator for Russian state television and sat with Vladimir Putin at a Russian gala.  Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, also is quite simpatico with Putin, even having received Russia’s Order of Friendship award from Putin. Trump himself has openly praised Putin and Donald, Jr. has touted Trump Inc.’s extensive business interests in Russia and the “money pouring in from Russia.” Russia’s deputy foreign minister stated that Moscow had contacts with members of the Trump campaign during the election and that Team Trump folks have been staying in touch with Russian representatives since then.  The latest news is that a former Trump surrogate is in Russia preparing American businesses operating there for the soon to come lifting of the US sanctions against Russia. (Sorry, Ukraine!)

In other words, the connections between Trump & Co. and Russia are known and multiple.  How then can we ignore the obvious possibility that Trump or members of his campaign conspired with the Russians on their scheme?  And how can we deny what appears to be a possible quid pro quo in which Russia is receiving benefits due to its help in getting Trump elected?

Given the seriousness of these implications, it would be fully justified for the Electoral College to delay its vote until this matter can be fully investigated.   In any case,  we who love this country, regardless of party affiliation, should insist that the Obama administration thoroughly investigate not just what happened in regard to the Russian hacking, but why and with whose knowledge.  In the end, saving our democracy may be the greatest legacy of the Obama administration.


Betrayal by Women Who Voted for Trump

Borrowing this from a friend who speaks my truth on this, too:

I feel betrayed by every woman who voted for Trump.

If you know me even a little, you will know I am an avid advocate of women’s rights–political, social, and economic equality.

To know that even one of you could vote for this rabid sexual assaulter, this man who degrades women in the lowest, most base and vile manner, is a personal insult and affront. What have you told yourself, and taught your daughters, your sons, and others, about what is acceptable treatment of women?

If you can’t understand this, consider the comfortable seat of white privilege from which you sit. Consider that statistically speaking, you know several women who have been sexually assaulted. You have just slapped us in the face.

Even so, I will not unfriend you. I hope you read these articles with an eye of inward scrutiny and external awakening to the experiences of women around you and beyond. It’s time to stop burying your head in the sand of your white, privileged, conservative, self-made bubble.

We will prevail.

Why Trump’s #NotMyPresident

I know that a lot of people who were not inherently or originally Trump supporters voted for him because of party allegiance. Many of them were worried about a Supreme Court that would be packed with liberals. Some bought into his vow to bring about change in Washington (oh yes, but what kind of change?). I think they placated their concerns about his fitness for office and the dangers he may pose by imagining that he’ll be controllable by the GOP establishment types in Congress. (I don’t see much evidence to support that theory.) Also, let’s face it: there’s a lot of hatred for Hillary out there and so that surely motivated some to support Trump, just to make sure she lost.

Others were more truly the Trump rally types that we see on videos shouting “build the wall”,”lock her up” or beating up protesters. It seems hard to deny that those folks are motivated by hatred, racism and xenophobia.

Many of my good-hearted liberal intellectual friends have suggested, sympathetically, that the essence of the Trump supporter is someone who is feeling economically and culturally displaced. I heard a guy on the radio yesterday who sounded really country, not particularly well-spoken, yet expressive. He said that he has never voted in his life, but something about Trump’s message really grabbed him. He not only voted for the first time but he made all his family vote. He kept saying “I’m just a regular working man, I go to work every day, I just want everyone to play by the rules.” Not sure what rules he thinks others are breaking that he’s forced to follow, but I gather that he’s anti-undocumented workers or maybe anti-affirmative action that favors women or minorities. Anyway, hearing that interview answered a question I’d had about where the hell did all these rural Trump voters all of a sudden come from… turns out they were out there, part of the vast number of people who were politically “off the grid” and Trump, with his simple way of talking, with his lack of polish or PC-ness, said the things that resonated with them.

But understanding all that, as sympathetically as I can, I still think Trump’s very dangerous, especially with the House and Senate in GOP control. Here are my predictions: They will repeal the ACA. Trump’s DOJ will put together some type of deportation force. He will build a wall — I’ve heard folks scoff at this, but he can’t not act on his signature policy proposal. He will restrict freedom of the press and his Supreme Court may overturn Roe v Wade. and marriage equality. His Attorney General, Giuliani, is probably going to prosecute Hillary. And then there’s all the stuff that needs to get done, but won’t. There will not be any furtherance of common sense gun restrictions. There will not be any curtailment of fossil fuels and coal that are driving global warming. There will not be economic programs or a living wage for the poor. And we will be seeing more and more acts of violence by the deplorables out there whose racism, xenophobia and homophobia are now legitimized. These are realistic and scary prospects for our country now.

So to disavow all that and to let those who will suffer terribly – real human consequences that will be heart-breaking – under a Trump presidency I proclaim that he is #NotMyPresident. I understand that he will become President, but I will think of him always as the offensive interloper into our government and democracy that he is.

And with the means I have I will be part of #TheResistance. I will support and join with those who share my values and I will not let political activism again be a once every 4 years kind of thing. And I’m not the only one. And we are not going away.

So, should I give Trump a chance? (Sing it now, everyone – “All we are saying…is give Trump a chance!”) You know what, he has a chance whether I give it to him or not. Let him act on that nice speech he gave yesterday and prove me wrong. But I will not be holding my breath.