A Helpful Guide for the American People and their President on What Treason Is

It seems to me that lately, there has been a lot of confusion amongst our friends over the Pacific about what constitutes "treason" and about what "treason" actually is. As I am a helpful person, I have composed this brief guide on what is and is not considered "treason" under the laws of the United States.

You may leave tokens of appreciation for my generosity and benevolence in the form of private messages or shortbread biscuits.

WHAT TREASON IS

Article Three, Section Three of the United States Constitution provides:

Founding Fathers:
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.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

To translate from Ye Olde American English, treason is defined as the act of either:

a) levying war against the United States, defined as the assembling of men for the purpose of making war against the United States, or;
b) giving aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States.

The power to punish a person convicted of treason is vested in Congress, who is barred from "attainder" ( the seizure of property) that works "corruption of blood." This is a reference to contemporary English law, in which the children of a treacherous family could see their property confiscated due to the crimes of their forbears.

In common language, as opposed to a legal definition, "treason" refers to act of betraying someone or something to which a person owed allegiance, whether through implicit social obligations (one's friends, family, etc.) or through explicit verbal expression.

WHAT TREASON IS NOT

Treason is not asking Russia, a state with whom the United States is not currently at war, to hack an opponent's email server.

Treason is not meeting with representatives of Russia, a state with whom the United States is not currently at war, to solicit illegally-gained intelligence on one's opponent in a general election.

Treason is not the exchange of texts between private individuals that express opinions critical of a presidential candidate.

Treason is not violating an embargo to invest money in a resort in Cuba, a state with whom the United States was not at war.

Treason is not the violation of the Foreign Emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments.

Treason is not refusing to clap during a speech.

IN CONCLUSION

Stop talking about treason, Mr. President.

Or...just...stop talking. In general. Please?

I get what you're saying. But the 'enemies' part. A nation or power that conspires to undermine the United States while playing a friend is still an enemy, even if they didn't declare it out right.

So, Russia's interference in our Election for their own goals, and the CIA's confidence that they will do it again has shown repeated and sustained antagonistic endeavors towards the American People. You know, like enemies.

Trump has also failed to levy the sanctions against Russia.

The legislation almost unanimously passed both chambers, and it was clear that Congress would override a presidential veto. It was explicitly designed to make old sanctions against Russia permanent and pressure Trump to impose new ones. The bill forced Trump to impose costs on Putin for interfering in America's democratic process and his interventions in Ukraine and Syria.

I so want to slap treason on that. Enemy? Aid and comfort? Fits like a glove.

ObsidianJones:
I so want to slap treason on that. Enemy? Aid and comfort? Fits like a glove.

It doesn't change the fact that legally speaking, Congress has to declare war on another nation before that nation can be considered an enemy at war with the United States. There's a reason why the spies caught handing nuclear secrets to the Soviets in the 50s were charged with espionage and not treason; the US was not at war with the USSR at the time.

This is a good thing. It is an important restraint on executive power that has sadly withered in the years since 9/11. Just as Americans have grown to accept the fictional power of the President to declare war at will, there's a risk that under Trump - or his successors - they will accept the fictional power of the President to declare his political opponents to be traitors or enemies of the state. That's old-school monarchist logic, where an attack on the leader of a state is an attack on the state itself.

Now, the examples I cited are from both sides of the party divide, but Trump's misuse of the word is a great deal more egregious. For the people saying Trump is guilty of treason because he is corrupt or because he probably got elected with help from the Russians or because he is deliberately slow-walking Congressional sanctions as a quid pro quo for that help, there is at least concrete wrongdoing that is simply being mislabeled. Trump, on the other hand, is adopting the "treasonous" epithet just as he adopted the epithets of fake news, collusion, and obstruction; upon being accused of something, he starts accusing his opponents of the same thing, leading to the absurd sight of Trump saying that it was treasonous for Democrats to not applaud during his State of the Union speech.

That's dumb. And it's dumb in a dangerous way. Like, on the fascism scale, forcing your opponents to applaud you on pain of treason is like....0.4 Hitlers. And I'd knock that up to 0.45 in light of the planned military parade.

ObsidianJones:
So, Russia's interference in our Election for their own goals, and the CIA's confidence that they will do it again has shown repeated and sustained antagonistic endeavors towards the American People. You know, like enemies.

Unless you're going to call Raytheon, Boeing, Aetna, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Koch family, Wal-Mart, and so on "enemies", please stop this hyperbolic nonsense.

The United States was not a democracy before 2016. It is an oligarchy. Several hundred thousand dollars spent on facebook ads by foreigners in an election which had campaigns spending a billion dollars didn't make that significantly worse.

bastardofmelbourne:

Treason is not refusing to clap during a speech.

Not currently, anyway.

There's always room to change that along with El Presidente General Trump getting his military parades (by which we mean an another formal opportunity to grandstand and boast about how great he is).

Well keep in mind 'Enemy' is not defined, and Congressmen regularly refer to Russia as an enemy of the United States.

If Trump aided Russia in hacking our election to get himself elected, on the promise he'd help the Russians, ie Aid them, and Congress if chooses to view Russia as an enemy, then yeah Treason.

Declared war does not equal Enemy.

I know Trump is a bumbling moron and doesn't know what he's talking about. But to casually and publicly accuse your political opponents of treason should have some serious repercussions.

Seanchaidh:

ObsidianJones:
So, Russia's interference in our Election for their own goals, and the CIA's confidence that they will do it again has shown repeated and sustained antagonistic endeavors towards the American People. You know, like enemies.

Unless you're going to call Raytheon, Boeing, Aetna, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Koch family, Wal-Mart, and so on "enemies", please stop this hyperbolic nonsense.

The United States was not a democracy before 2016. It is an oligarchy. Several hundred thousand dollars spent on facebook ads by foreigners in an election which had campaigns spending a billion dollars didn't make that significantly worse.

Here's the issue with the comment. The way you phrased it makes me want to fight with you more than discuss with you. If that's your plan, mission accomplished. If we're actually trying to have a discussion, let's refrain from such confrontational speech.

If you have proof that all of those (you don't need any for the Kochs, I've read) that they interfered or harmed America for the specific goal of harming America, then yes, I would. But companies like Wal-Mart don't have any agenda higher than making more money. If it fucks over America, yeah, they do not care, but Wal-Mart's goal wasn't specifically fucking over America.

bastardofmelbourne:
Sir Snips-a-lot

Here's the problem. While looking for a legal definition of what is considered an Enemy, I got this.

According to 50 USCS ? 2204 [Title 50. War and National Defense; Chapter 39. Spoils of War], enemy of the United States means any country, government, group, or person that has been engaged in hostilities, whether or not lawfully authorized, with the United States;

Hostilities are vague, but attempting to sow discord with a nation and its people seems to constitute that.

More over... you know, while we have a passing idea of who is antagonistic with America, we don't have a hard and fast list. It's a good idea not to have one, because nations don't have something to point to to justify any move. But for as all we know, anyone can be on the list for Enemy, making any action for them or aid to them considered to be treasonous.

Seanchaidh:

ObsidianJones:
So, Russia's interference in our Election for their own goals, and the CIA's confidence that they will do it again has shown repeated and sustained antagonistic endeavors towards the American People. You know, like enemies.

Unless you're going to call Raytheon, Boeing, Aetna, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Koch family, Wal-Mart, and so on "enemies", please stop this hyperbolic nonsense.

The United States was not a democracy before 2016. It is an oligarchy. Several hundred thousand dollars spent on facebook ads by foreigners in an election which had campaigns spending a billion dollars didn't make that significantly worse.

I always thought the USA were a Republic (constitutional federal representative republic democracy), with heavy leanings towards Capitalism = Corporatism = Oligopoly?

Anyway, the US has been accused (and caught) countless times for interfering in other countries elections as well..
Choose whichever leftist news site you like best. Saving the most extreme one for last.

https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/americas-long-history-of-meddling-in-other-countries-elections

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-us-intervention-foreign-elections-20161213-story.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/10/13/the-long-history-of-the-u-s-interfering-with-elections-elsewhere/?utm_term=.cb7765669ed1

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/39159-noam-chomsky-on-the-long-history-of-us-meddling-in-foreign-elections

Silentpony:
Well keep in mind 'Enemy' is not defined, and Congressmen regularly refer to Russia as an enemy of the United States.

If Trump aided Russia in hacking our election to get himself elected, on the promise he'd help the Russians, ie Aid them, and Congress if chooses to view Russia as an enemy, then yeah Treason.

Declared war does not equal Enemy.

You can't bend the rules like that. From the first google link found:

According to 50 USCS ? 2204 [Title 50. War and National Defense; Chapter 39. Spoils of War], enemy of the United States means any country, government, group, or person that has been engaged in hostilities, whether or not lawfully authorized, with the United States;

(3) the term "person" means

(A) any natural person;

(B) any corporation, partnership, or other legal entity; and

(C) any organization, association, or group.

Emphasis mine. Define the hostilities. And bear in mind, if you open up the can of bullshit definitions, you could argue that anybody criticising the US government is engaging in hostilities with the state, and before you know it you've turned into Turkey.

There is a reason real politicians don't actually try and get people done for treason on flimsy excuses.

Taking emails from a private server may be stealing, but it is not hostility to a state. Funding advertisements may be dodgy, but it is not hostility against the state.

ObsidianJones:

Seanchaidh:

ObsidianJones:
So, Russia's interference in our Election for their own goals, and the CIA's confidence that they will do it again has shown repeated and sustained antagonistic endeavors towards the American People. You know, like enemies.

Unless you're going to call Raytheon, Boeing, Aetna, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Koch family, Wal-Mart, and so on "enemies", please stop this hyperbolic nonsense.

The United States was not a democracy before 2016. It is an oligarchy. Several hundred thousand dollars spent on facebook ads by foreigners in an election which had campaigns spending a billion dollars didn't make that significantly worse.

Here's the issue with the comment. The way you phrased it makes me want to fight with you more than discuss with you.

The Russia narrative has so absurdly narrow a focus and is being brandished in such a transparently propagandist manner that you should want a third option: to change your mind.

You may or may not know that authoritarian regimes will often keep their political opposition neutered by selectively enforcing anti-corruption laws[1]. One example is the Russian police force, amusingly: they are paid salaries which are so light that they practically make corruption necessary to live; corruption is widely known and yet little is done about it aside from the prosecution of regime opponents. The whole legal apparatus is basically a mechanism of private enrichment when it isn't being used as a tool of enforcing loyalty. The targets of these enforcement actions will usually be guilty (and fairly obviously so) of crimes that are and should be illegal; corruption is normal in those regimes, commonplace among those involved in government. And yet laws against corruption are used as a tool for the ruling party to maintain control and crush any challengers, effectively preventing any meaningful political change which might actually change the situation which gives rise to so much corruption (not to mention suffering) rather than merely curating the list of specific people who get to enrich themselves with it.

Forbes:
Corruption serves another crucial political purpose for autocracies because it can be used as an easy excuse to discipline followers and get rid of rivals. Because corruption under authoritarian rule is so pervasive, and the boundaries between what is legal and what is not are hopelessly blurred, authoritarian rulers have enormous discretion in deciding whom to prosecute and whom to protect. As a result, second-tier regime loyalists are forever at the mercy of the top-level leaders, who from time to time decide to make an example of a few "rotten apples" to show who is the real boss. In China, this practice is called "killing a chicken to warn the monkeys."

On occasion, however, even a monkey--or a big-shot politician--needs to be slaughtered. So when the Chinese Communist Party leadership sentenced the former party boss of Shanghai to jail last year on corruption charges, most Beijing watchers knew that his real offense was not corruption, but political disloyalty and arrogance.

Now we have a deeper appreciation of the saying, allegedly attributed to a former top Chinese leader, that "corruption will kill the party; fighting corruption will kill it, too." What he meant was, really, a one-party regime could not rule without corruption.

The autocrat who controls these selective enforcements can, of course, point out the following: noting that corruption is commonplace is what-about-ism. "But what about all the other people guilty of corruption?" What about Raytheon? What about Boeing? What about the unwarranted influence of Israel and Saudi Arabia and AIPAC and the Koch family and Mercer family and Lockheed Martin and Exxon-Mobil and the Waltons?

What about the police who arrested Putin's opponent? What about Putin himself? What-about-ism. Mikhail Khodorkovsky is the issue before us! And Mikhail Khodorkovsky is guilty.

What about Israel and Saudi Arabia and Wal-Mart and PhRMA and Exxon? What about the billions that went into the 2016 election? What-about-ism. A few hundred thousand dollars of Russian money spent on amateurish facebook ads is what we're talking about. Endlessly.

CNN and MSNBC and the #Resistance (which includes neo-con Bill Kristol) aren't super concerned about influence over our elections. They just want to escalate tensions with Russia (to justify more military spending) and give us a scapegoat to take the blame for Clinton's loss and our more general political dysfunction. Yes, we're not a democracy... but only recently, as of 2016; it's all Putin, that dastardly mastermind! He outwitted us all with some cheap facebook ads and a baker's dozen of meme tweets!

Maybe some of the garden variety influence peddling and undisclosed lobbying discovered about figures in the Trump campaign (some of which happened before the Trump campaign) will convince you that it's all a conspiracy like the Manchurian candidate or some shit. Maybe we'll even get Trump on obstruction of justice because he's literally an idiot (and this is the kind of intellectual rigor required to maintain high status under capitalism). But will that have fixed anything significant? Or is it just a bit of theater?

I'm not interested in theater: I want power to the people. That's not Trump. It's not Pence. It's not Ryan. It's not anyone the #Resistance fantasizes about somehow being appointed President after some creative legal maneuvering and wishful thinking.

The Russia investigation is too selective and too ignorant of much larger problems of the same kind, and should therefore be of no interest to anyone who wants an actual improvement in our politics. The focus on Russia is like worrying that your neighbor might not have taken adequate fire safety precautions while your own house is already burning down with you still in it.

[1] Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, and Alastair Smith. 2011. The dictator's handbook: why bad behavior is almost always good politics. New York: PublicAffairs.

Seanchaidh:

ObsidianJones:

Seanchaidh:

Unless you're going to call Raytheon, Boeing, Aetna, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Koch family, Wal-Mart, and so on "enemies", please stop this hyperbolic nonsense.

The United States was not a democracy before 2016. It is an oligarchy. Several hundred thousand dollars spent on facebook ads by foreigners in an election which had campaigns spending a billion dollars didn't make that significantly worse.

Here's the issue with the comment. The way you phrased it makes me want to fight with you more than discuss with you.

The Russia narrative has so absurdly narrow a focus and is being brandished in such a transparently propagandist manner that you should want a third option: to change your mind.

You may or may not know that authoritarian regimes will often keep their political opposition neutered by selectively enforcing anti-corruption laws[1]. One example is the Russian police force, amusingly: they are paid salaries which are so light that they practically make corruption necessary to live; corruption is widely known and yet little is done about it aside from the prosecution of regime opponents. The whole legal apparatus is basically a mechanism of private enrichment when it isn't being used as a tool of enforcing loyalty. The targets of these enforcement actions will usually be guilty (and fairly obviously so) of crimes that are and should be illegal; corruption is normal in those regimes, commonplace among those involved in government. And yet laws against corruption are used as a tool for the ruling party to maintain control and crush any challengers, effectively preventing any meaningful political change which might actually change the situation which gives rise to so much corruption (not to mention suffering) rather than merely curating the list of specific people who get to enrich themselves with it.

Forbes:
Corruption serves another crucial political purpose for autocracies because it can be used as an easy excuse to discipline followers and get rid of rivals. Because corruption under authoritarian rule is so pervasive, and the boundaries between what is legal and what is not are hopelessly blurred, authoritarian rulers have enormous discretion in deciding whom to prosecute and whom to protect. As a result, second-tier regime loyalists are forever at the mercy of the top-level leaders, who from time to time decide to make an example of a few "rotten apples" to show who is the real boss. In China, this practice is called "killing a chicken to warn the monkeys."

On occasion, however, even a monkey--or a big-shot politician--needs to be slaughtered. So when the Chinese Communist Party leadership sentenced the former party boss of Shanghai to jail last year on corruption charges, most Beijing watchers knew that his real offense was not corruption, but political disloyalty and arrogance.

Now we have a deeper appreciation of the saying, allegedly attributed to a former top Chinese leader, that "corruption will kill the party; fighting corruption will kill it, too." What he meant was, really, a one-party regime could not rule without corruption.

The autocrat who controls these selective enforcements can, of course, point out the following: noting that corruption is commonplace is what-about-ism. "But what about all the other people guilty of corruption?" What about Raytheon? What about Boeing? What about the unwarranted influence of Israel and Saudi Arabia and AIPAC and the Koch family and Mercer family and Lockheed Martin and Exxon-Mobil and the Waltons?

What about the police who arrested Putin's opponent? What about Putin himself? What-about-ism. Mikhail Khodorkovsky is the issue before us! And Mikhail Khodorkovsky is guilty.

What about Israel and Saudi Arabia and Wal-Mart and PhRMA and Exxon? What about the billions that went into the 2016 election? What-about-ism. A few hundred thousand dollars of Russian money spent on amateurish facebook ads is what we're talking about. Endlessly.

CNN and MSNBC and the #Resistance (which includes neo-con Bill Kristol) aren't super concerned about influence over our elections. They just want to escalate tensions with Russia (to justify more military spending) and give us a scapegoat to take the blame for Clinton's loss and our more general political dysfunction. Yes, we're not a democracy... but only recently, as of 2016; it's all Putin, that dastardly mastermind! He outwitted us all with some cheap facebook ads and a baker's dozen of meme tweets!

Maybe some of the garden variety influence peddling and undisclosed lobbying discovered about figures in the Trump campaign (some of which happened before the Trump campaign) will convince you that it's all a conspiracy like the Manchurian candidate or some shit. Maybe we'll even get Trump on obstruction of justice because he's literally an idiot (and this is the kind of intellectual rigor required to maintain high status under capitalism). But will that have fixed anything significant? Or is it just a bit of theater?

I'm not interested in theater: I want power to the people. That's not Trump. It's not Pence. It's not Ryan. It's not anyone the #Resistance fantasizes about somehow being appointed President after some creative legal maneuvering and wishful thinking.

The Russia investigation is too selective and too ignorant of much larger problems of the same kind, and should therefore be of no interest to anyone who wants an actual improvement in our politics. The focus on Russia is like worrying that your neighbor might not have taken adequate fire safety precautions while your own house is already burning down with you still in it.

I would normally snip this, but I am keeping it for one thing.

You're taking your perception of what I'm saying and arguing that instead of what I'm trying to say.

Clinton lost. We are all over it. Trump may or may not entered into a deal with the Russians to spin the election. A lot of evidence points to prior knowledge of events or the hacking of Hillary's emails before Trump should have ever known, and he named the perpetrators by name. Trump and his idiot sons have all come out and said they have vast interests and money coming from Russia. Great, fine.Coincidences all.

If a foreign power engages in Hostilities against this nation, they become an enemy. Trump went against a bipartisan ruling to levy sanctions against Russia for no reason.

Take away my dislike of Trump. If Clinton did it, I would have said the same. Obama would have gotten the same. Anyone would have. It's not about my dislike, it's about the act.

I don't want tensions with Russia. In fact, I actually hate what's happening because I've always liked the idea of Russia and the USA becoming friends after all that Cold War drama. No one sane wants war with Russia. It would be probably a conflict that puts the entire world (or what's left of it) into a Fourth World scenario with the remaining Armies banding together to rule what's left of the populous. But this wasn't a prank. This was deliberate tampering with our government.

And I'm not naive. We all do it. We know what the CIA does, as well do we know what all nations do. But when you're so egregious with it, you can't sweep it under the rug. Sanctions were fair, Trump stole even that way from us. And We're all left wondering why, given the man is so ready to kick the nfl out of jobs for actually using their given rights to waving his nuclear dick around to a country that's 3/4th the size of New England.

Instead of the conspiracy, couldn't it be just as simple as we found Russia doing something wrong and we, being brought up in the punitive system that we all were, believe punishment is the correct course of action? Understand, that doesn't make it alright. But maybe it's not war mongering and more trying to instill some deterrents, even just for the citizenry feeling that their government can do something?

Lastly, we're talking about one guy. You have a lot of axes to grind, great. Bring us all up to date and we might be right there with you. But like you said, whataboutisms. Why can't we ever just handle the case in front of us before lumping everyone and everything else and yelling 'what about these', preventing us from action because we need to clear the entire world before the case we were addressing?

We're talking about Trump. The title of this thread is about the American People and Trump. I'm addressing Trump and his actions. You have a fine point, but your fine point still doesn't remove the fact that Trump has certainly done actions that go contrary to the will of Congress that brings aid and comfort to what is probably now ostentatiously known as an enemy of the state to America.

School me all you want in the thread titled "Everyone who's done treasonous things to the American people". I would actually love to learn that, and I mean that without a hint of sarcasm. But for now? In this thread? We're on Trump and his actions.

[1] Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, and Alastair Smith. 2011. The dictator's handbook: why bad behavior is almost always good politics. New York: PublicAffairs.

Vendor-Lazarus:
Anyway, the US has been accused (and caught) countless times for interfering in other countries elections as well..

Hah! Why worry about interfering in elections. The USA has launched coups and invaded countries to change the results of their democratic elections.

ObsidianJones:
couldn't it be just as simple as we found Russia doing something wrong and we, being brought up in the punitive system that we all were, believe punishment is the correct course of action?

No, frankly, it couldn't. Not with this much spectacle.

ObsidianJones:
Why can't we ever just handle the case in front of us

We can; but don't pretend it's a big deal that you might eliminate some fraction of a fraction of a percent of undemocratic influence over our elections with no inclination towards structural reform that would do anything to actually fix the system.

ObsidianJones:
If a foreign power engages in Hostilities against this nation, they become an enemy. Trump went against a bipartisan ruling to levy sanctions against Russia for no reason.

Declining to take some action against some other nation, even if that nation is an adversary and at war, does not rise to the level of "treason". And nothing short of shots fired qualifies as "hostilities" as regards relations between states.

(9)Hostilities.? The term "hostilities" means any conflict subject to the laws of war.

What is HOSTILITY?

In the law of nations. A state of open war. "At the breaking out of hostility." 1 Kent, Comm. 00.Au act of open war. "When hostilities have commenced."

International law on the conduct of hostilities regulates and limits the methods and means of warfare used by parties to an armed conflict.

Some suggest even armed conflict may not qualify as "hostilities":

(CNN) -- Harold Koh, legal adviser to the U.S. State Department, attempted to convince Congress on June 15 that the "limited nature" of U.S. military operations in Libya are not "hostilities" as envisioned in the War Powers Resolution, and, therefore, required no Congressional authorization.

That is stupid, of course, but it was a serious idea put forward in testimony to Congress by the State Department. Guess even serious people™ can get fooled by the detached character of dropping bombs from the air.

Now we are to suppose that a bit of tension (much of it caused by our own aggressive posturing) = HOSTILITIES. A HOSTILE foreign power. Declining to punish them with sanctions is AID AND COMFORT to an HOSTILE ENEMY!

ObsidianJones:
Take away my dislike of Trump. If Clinton did it, I would have said the same. Obama would have gotten the same. Anyone would have. It's not about my dislike, it's about the act.

If Hillary Clinton had declined to implement additional sanctions against Russia, I certainly wouldn't be calling that treason, and I find it very peculiar that anyone else would.

ObsidianJones:
I don't want tensions with Russia. In fact, I actually hate what's happening because I've always liked the idea of Russia and the USA becoming friends after all that Cold War drama. No one sane wants war with Russia. It would be probably a conflict that puts the entire world (or what's left of it) into a Fourth World scenario with the remaining Armies banding together to rule what's left of the populous. But this wasn't a prank. This was deliberate tampering with our government.

It was a few hundred thousand dollars in facebook ads in an election which had billions spent in it. It was, if Russia was even responsible for it, the release of truthful information which we should have known anyway.

Gerrymandering is deliberate tampering with our government. Buying the DNC is deliberate tampering with our government. Cross-check and other voter suppression is deliberate tampering with our government. Lobbying and campaign finance (legal and illegal) is deliberate influence over our elections and tampering with our government. In the grand scheme of things, Russian influence in the United States is minuscule and vastly overblown; tackle a real problem.

ObsidianJones:
And I'm not naive. We all do it. We know what the CIA does, as well do we know what all nations do. But when you're so egregious with it, you can't sweep it under the rug. Sanctions were fair, Trump stole even that way from us.

When the DNC declined to let anyone even look at the server that was supposed to have been 'hacked', they robbed us of any clear standing to act in that regard.

Seanchaidh:

The United States was not a democracy before 2016.

Now you aren't arguing in good faith...

CaitSeith:

Seanchaidh:

The United States was not a democracy before 2016.

Now you aren't arguing in good faith...

The United States has been an oligarchy for quite awhile now. It's not a democracy. The people (demo-) are incapable of ruling (-cracy) when there are two sets of choices curated by rich donors and gatekeepers. So as you can imagine I'm pretty unimpressed by claims that our democracy is under attack by foreigners; it's been all but destroyed by domestic agents already.

Seanchaidh:
snips

Again, I feel like we're arguing two different perspectives and are trying to apply our view points to ideas that the other does not put the same amount of importance on.

For your part, oh yes, I completely agree that there are people trying to use Russia for their own goals. I also think there are people, who like me, see a crime done and want it handled as such. Because of my personal views, I tend to focus more about that, and I should say as much more.

But for me, I do see the slight because the slight must be rectified.

You steal a wallet, you steal someone's deed, you steal someone's 401k. All of them are Theft. It doesn't matter the severity of it, it's theft.

Likewise, I consider attempts to hack voting machines (we really gloss this over a lot), misinformation and propaganda (Twitter and Facebook fake accounts), political assassinations, fake wars and dummy governments all apart of deliberate tampering with the Government.

One might give only two of those examples to be true deliberate tampering and brush the other things aside because they don't seem that important. Like for our example, the propaganda. And I'd be inclined to agree if it wasn't backed by Kremlin's say so. But this thought goes to your 'tackle a real problem' argument. Russia's been trying stupidity with Us, France, Britain, and that's who we know about. Pre-emptively shutting down an issue before it becomes a problem is a good use a time, no matter where you're at.

There are plenty of real problems at hand. If you want me to list a few, sure. Rise of Hate Groups, the Dismantling of the EPA and other Governmental Protection Agencies designed to protect the American people, The American Food Quality, The increasing gap between the economic classes, Education costs rising juxtaposed the declining importance of the Education due to it being handed out like skittles, these are all major issues and problems.

And the reason I haven't brought them up in this thread about The American People, The President, And Treason because there's not even anecdotal evidence about Trump doing any of that in order to aid an enemy of America for some insidious plot. The same can be said for Gerrymandering, The DNC's corruption along with the Republican Corruption, Money in politics as a whole, legal bribery in "campaign contributions" (Hi, Paul Ryan!), etc. The reason why I didn't speak about the Koch Brothers is, as far as I know, they aren't considered an enemy of the state. And while the Tax plan doesn't help the American people at all... and will in fact hurt them in years to come, it's not to destabilize America. It's pure greed. All of which is not Treasonous.

However. We've found links to Trump's staff with ties to Russia, who he downplayed them all once they admitted their guilt. There are long standing ties with Russian money in Trump's holdings from YEARS back. And now a general laisse-faire attitude with Russia that he gives no one else. He's insulted long standing allies on multiple occasions, but does everything possible to buddy up to Putin and Russia. I don't blame people for wanting to know why.

Now, is that evidence? No. But it's cause enough to find out what's going on. However, out of all the things you and I've mentioned, it comes closest to the subject at hand.

The American People and the President understanding what Treason is. Anything that doesn't directly relate to the President, an Enemy of the State, and Treason is a distraction to the topic at hand.

Catnip1024:

Silentpony:
Well keep in mind 'Enemy' is not defined, and Congressmen regularly refer to Russia as an enemy of the United States.

If Trump aided Russia in hacking our election to get himself elected, on the promise he'd help the Russians, ie Aid them, and Congress if chooses to view Russia as an enemy, then yeah Treason.

Declared war does not equal Enemy.

You can't bend the rules like that. From the first google link found:

According to 50 USCS ? 2204 [Title 50. War and National Defense; Chapter 39. Spoils of War], enemy of the United States means any country, government, group, or person that has been engaged in hostilities, whether or not lawfully authorized, with the United States;

(3) the term "person" means

(A) any natural person;

(B) any corporation, partnership, or other legal entity; and

(C) any organization, association, or group.

Emphasis mine. Define the hostilities. And bear in mind, if you open up the can of bullshit definitions, you could argue that anybody criticising the US government is engaging in hostilities with the state, and before you know it you've turned into Turkey.

There is a reason real politicians don't actually try and get people done for treason on flimsy excuses.

Taking emails from a private server may be stealing, but it is not hostility to a state. Funding advertisements may be dodgy, but it is not hostility against the state.

You don't think a government led propaganda campaign aimed at subverting our election process and cyber attacks on our voter databases and software systems associated with our election in at least 39 states counts as hostilities?

Jux:
You don't think a government led propaganda campaign aimed at subverting our election process and cyber attacks on our voter databases and software systems associated with our election in at least 39 states counts as hostilities?

What is propaganda but a set of paid for adverts? Which effectively actually contribute to your economy. At least, assuming Facebook pays tax.

Source required for that second claim. But regardless, cyber attacks aren't currently classed as acts of hostility - particularly when no actual harm was done. They arguably should be, but if you open that can of worms then the US is in a lot of trouble too. And then you have the difficulty of pinning it on a state rather than a splinter group.

Jux:
You don't think a government led propaganda campaign aimed at subverting our election process and cyber attacks on our voter databases and software systems associated with our election in at least 39 states counts as hostilities?

Well, yes, but you don't say that. I mean, if Russia is an enemy, does any US citizen giving aid or comfort to Russia a traitor? For that matter, does that make any country whose government the US is meddling with an enemy as well?

If you work for a charity helping people in those nations, are you a traitor?

Having said that, in a looser sense, we can be pretty sure that Trump is not working for the benefit of the people of the US like he is supposed to, and is a traitor (just not legally) that way.

Catnip1024:

Jux:
You don't think a government led propaganda campaign aimed at subverting our election process and cyber attacks on our voter databases and software systems associated with our election in at least 39 states counts as hostilities?

What is propaganda but a set of paid for adverts? Which effectively actually contribute to your economy. At least, assuming Facebook pays tax.

Source required for that second claim. But regardless, cyber attacks aren't currently classed as acts of hostility - particularly when no actual harm was done. They arguably should be, but if you open that can of worms then the US is in a lot of trouble too. And then you have the difficulty of pinning it on a state rather than a splinter group.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnbc.com/amp/2017/06/13/russias-cyber-attack-on-39-states-could-jeopardize-future-us-elections.html

This is all readily available info, if you've watched the news at all in the past year, you wouldn't be needing to ask for sources. And I would argue they are viewed as hostilities, otherwise new sanctions wouldn't have been levied over it.

And I never said the US doesn't meddle in others elections. I'm not about to play your 'whataboutism' game though. This is about establishing what constitutes an enemy in relation to the treason discussion. Stay on topic.

Thaluikhain:

Jux:
You don't think a government led propaganda campaign aimed at subverting our election process and cyber attacks on our voter databases and software systems associated with our election in at least 39 states counts as hostilities?

Well, yes, but you don't say that. I mean, if Russia is an enemy, does any US citizen giving aid or comfort to Russia a traitor? For that matter, does that make any country whose government the US is meddling with an enemy as well?

If you work for a charity helping people in those nations, are you a traitor?

Having said that, in a looser sense, we can be pretty sure that Trump is not working for the benefit of the people of the US like he is supposed to, and is a traitor (just not legally) that way.

I would say the level of aid given, and how knowingly, to efforts at destabilizing our political system, matter in how you might label someone a traitor.

I'm not particularly interested in splitting hairs though to find the line in what makes trump a traitor but the average russian apologist on the internet 'not a traitor'.

For me, the case om trump is clear cut. I wouldn't call him a traitor in the sense that he's actively trying to advance russian interests in destabilizing our democracy, but rather that he considers nothing but himself, and is willing to throw the country under the bus for personal gain.

So, in effect, a useful idiot for the russians. Still a traitor, just a different kind.

The overt nationalism on display here is nauseating.

Seanchaidh:
The overt nationalism on display here is nauseating.

See this is why you got accused of arguing in bad faith earlier. You refuse to meet people halfway if they don't share your worldview and hurl insults at them instead.

erttheking:

Seanchaidh:
The overt nationalism on display here is nauseating.

See this is why you got accused of arguing in bad faith earlier. You refuse to meet people halfway if they don't share your worldview and hurl insults at them instead.

You know you could try actually discussing his arguments posted here instead of calling into his character into question.

As for the nationalism, yes I see it as an outsider and I find it disturbing as well, and this isn't the first time I've pointed this out either.

You don't think it's strange that tactics and phenomena that have existed as long as nation states have are now being re-branded as "Russian"? Would you say that it's strange that for all the talk of Trump as some unique aberration and not the inevitable result of growing corruption over the past several decades?

erttheking:

See this is why you got accused of arguing in bad faith earlier. You refuse to meet people halfway if they don't share your worldview and hurl insults at them instead.

I don't even know who he's directing that at. It looks bait-y, not even gonna engage with it.

Ninjamedic:
Would you say that it's strange that for all the talk of Trump as some unique aberration and not the inevitable result of growing corruption over the past several decades?

Did you leave something out there, having a bit of trouble parsing that.

Anyhoo, Trump is both unique (in that he's the worst yet) and the result of decades of worsening things.

Though, yeah, this particular issue is nothing new, but the US is supposed to try to resist it.

Thaluikhain:

Did you leave something out there, having a bit of trouble parsing that.

Just saw that, I forgot to amend part of that sentence after I reworded it. What I meant to say is that I'm troubled by the coverage around Mueller/Russia in the US media creating this caricature of the situation and it's implications. The Yanks should be using this as the springboard to finally broach the topic of how dangerous lobbying culture has become among other things but instead it's being framed as something only the dastardly Drumpf and his council of evil could do, thus keeping the important conversations beyond the superficial off the table.

Anyhoo, Trump is both unique (in that he's the worst yet) and the result of decades of worsening things.

Though, yeah, this particular issue is nothing new, but the US is supposed to try to resist it.

I can't help but see this as something of a contradiction in regards to the state of the US and rectifying it.

Ninjamedic:

erttheking:

Seanchaidh:
The overt nationalism on display here is nauseating.

See this is why you got accused of arguing in bad faith earlier. You refuse to meet people halfway if they don't share your worldview and hurl insults at them instead.

You know you could try actually discussing his arguments posted here instead of calling into his character into question.

As for the nationalism, yes I see it as an outsider and I find it disturbing as well, and this isn't the first time I've pointed this out either.

You don't think it's strange that tactics and phenomena that have existed as long as nation states have are now being re-branded as "Russian"? Would you say that it's strange that for all the talk of Trump as some unique aberration and not the inevitable result of growing corruption over the past several decades?

I appreciate what you're trying to do, but when a guy gets a multi-paragraph response to one of his posts and then posts a reply that quotes no one but throws generally insults around, debating that person would be, to be blunt, an utter waste of my time. So pointing out his character is really the only worth while thing left to me.

But since you're not doing that, as for nationalism, I don't really consider it nationalism. Nations interfering with democratic elections in other nations is a straight up shitty thing to do. I hate it when the United States interferes with democracy in other nations, it's only natural that I wouldn't care for it when it happens to my country. It's a nationalism ideal, it's a democrat ideal, classic democrat, not the US political party. (God I miss when democrat and republican meant "person who wanted a democracy" and "person who wanted a republic.")

As for Trump, I'd consider him less of a culmination of corruption in government and more the face of a massive surge of hate, insecurity and paranoia in the American people. The 21st century hasn't been great for this country, ever since the recession. People are worried about their way of life being under fire. In some cases, they're hard working people who are getting screwed over. In others, they're shitty people who refuse to let go of their hateful ways. Trump is the person they latched onto, and now the GOP more or less has to follow him less their voter base turn on them. Trump is not a culmination of corruption in American politics, namely because of how bad he is at being corrupt. He's an outsider trying to get everyone to march to his tune in a world he's clearly not familiar with.

No, if we want to look at the culmination of corruption in government, I think people like Moore are where you want to look.

Jux:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnbc.com/amp/2017/06/13/russias-cyber-attack-on-39-states-could-jeopardize-future-us-elections.html

This is all readily available info, if you've watched the news at all in the past year, you wouldn't be needing to ask for sources. And I would argue they are viewed as hostilities, otherwise new sanctions wouldn't have been levied over it.

And I never said the US doesn't meddle in others elections. I'm not about to play your 'whataboutism' game though. This is about establishing what constitutes an enemy in relation to the treason discussion. Stay on topic.

I've heard many stories in the last 12 months, a number of which were completely uncorroborated, and more which were overblown.

From the Bloomberg article which is better written and is the source article to the one you linked:

One of the mysteries about the 2016 presidential election is why Russian intelligence, after gaining access to state and local systems, didn't try to disrupt the vote. One possibility is that the American warning was effective. Another former senior U.S. official, who asked for anonymity to discuss the classified U.S. probe into pre-election hacking, said a more likely explanation is that several months of hacking failed to give the attackers the access they needed to master America's disparate voting systems spread across more than 7,000 local jurisdictions.

Again, emphasis mine.

So, despite potentially having access, no hostile action was taken. And even if you argue the mere act of accessing is a hostility, you still have to prove it to a reasonable level. There's a reason people don't treat cyber attacks as acts of warfare - they are hard to trace and easy to false flag. Very little evidence would stand up in a court of law, particularly the way the Russians outsource their hacking.

And the whataboutism is pertinent. If you eject politicians you don't like on the grounds that they are cosy with - not that they have actively aided with hostilities, merely that they have had meetings with - a state that has allegedly committed cyber attacks on your state, you open the door to them removing their local opposition on similar trumped up charges, with no room to legitimately criticise. Which leads to a more unified enemy, ultimately, and arguably means you are aiding the Russians.

Ninjamedic:
Just saw that, I forgot to amend part of that sentence after I reworded it. What I meant to say is that I'm troubled by the coverage around Mueller/Russia in the US media creating this caricature of the situation and it's implications. The Yanks should be using this as the springboard to finally broach the topic of how dangerous lobbying culture has become among other things but instead it's being framed as something only the dastardly Drumpf and his council of evil could do, thus keeping the important conversations beyond the superficial off the table.

I feel this is an unfair mindset to have simply because we don't have the evidence that Trump is guilty of all the things we believe he is.

Imagine having that conversation before we concrete proof.

"This is the exact problem that we have been talking about for years, and finally we see the evils of it manifested! Now, please don't pay any mind that this person hasn't been to court yet, no formal charges has been levied, and we might be wrong even though there's a ton of smoke in the area. But it feels wrong! So we should act on that!"

The process is slower than citizens being disgusted. As rightfully pointed out, America has never been a democracy. We have elected officials who govern in our stead. If the people in office now are corrupted by money, we have to wait for their term is up before we vote them out. Which we have been doing, with a lot of Progressives and/or Democrats taking over previously thought of unwinnable positions, if not finally giving Republicans a run for their money.

Catnip1024:
From the Bloomberg article which is better written and is the source article to the one you linked:

One of the mysteries about the 2016 presidential election is why Russian intelligence, after gaining access to state and local systems, didn?t try to disrupt the vote. One possibility is that the American warning was effective. Another former senior U.S. official, who asked for anonymity to discuss the classified U.S. probe into pre-election hacking, said a more likely explanation is that several months of hacking failed to give the attackers the access they needed to master America?s disparate voting systems spread across more than 7,000 local jurisdictions.

Again, emphasis mine.

So, despite potentially having access, no hostile action was taken.

Wrong. That particular hostile action wasn't taken. The act of breaching the databases in and of themselves was itself a hostile action. Or are you telling me that American hackers that break into intelligence agency databases wouldn't be prosecuted for criminal activity so long as they didn't alter anything? Sorry, that doesn't pass the smell test.

And even if you argue the mere act of accessing is a hostility, you still have to prove it to a reasonable level. There's a reason people don't treat cyber attacks as acts of warfare - they are hard to trace and easy to false flag. Very little evidence would stand up in a court of law, particularly the way the Russians outsource their hacking.

See above. If we would prosecute our own citizens for it, it would be considered reasonably hostile. Also see: sanctions for those cyber attacks. Just because they don't rise to the level of declaring war doesn't mean it wasn't a hostility.

And the whataboutism is pertinent. If you eject politicians you don't like on the grounds that they are cosy with - not that they have actively aided with hostilities, merely that they have had meetings with - a state that has allegedly committed cyber attacks on your state, you open the door to them removing their local opposition on similar trumped up charges, with no room to legitimately criticise. Which leads to a more unified enemy, ultimately, and arguably means you are aiding the Russians.

lol ok. This is just a bizzaro 'no, you're the racist for seeing race in the first place!' argument.

Thank you for this. It has always bothered me how people tried to broadly define treason when it is, in fact, one of the more narrowly defined crimes in American law due to our constitution and our history.

I remember 2005-2007 when people were really turning against the Iraq war and I heard more than one conservative pundit say that disparaging the war effort was borderline treason by "giving aid and comfort to the enemy." Uh, no. No it is not.

 

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